4 Apr 2006

Malaria has claimed dozens over the past four months in the PNG Highlands

6:37 pm on 4 April 2006

At least 137 people have died in the past four months after a malaria outbreak in part of Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea.

The National newspaper reports that the worst affected is the Hulia local level government council area, near Tari.

The officer in charge of the Wabia Health Centre says an estimated 137 people including infants have died since December.

Tari hospital's senior laboratory technician Frank Kasahya says of 712 patients tested for malaria in the first three months this year, 515 have tested positive.

Mr Kasahya says it is expected there are many more sufferers in remote areas who are not able to access medical help.

There is reportedly a huge shortage of anti-malarial and other anti-biotics at the hospital.