18 Dec 2008

Australia could do more to help health services in Papua, says health NGO

2:44 pm on 18 December 2008

A new article published in the Medical Journal of Australia says Australia could do a lot more to help improve appalling health standards in Indonesia's Papua region.

The article says a lack of support for health workers have exacerbated already fragile district health services throughout Papua where tens of thousands of people are estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDs and deadly outbreaks of cholera and diarrheoa are frequent.

One of the article's authors, Remco van de Pas of Medecins du Monde Papua, says Australia could do a lot more than merely giving Jakarta 10 million US dollars to commit to HIV prevention in neighbouring Papua.

"The Australian government can look more actively to funding organisations and local health professionals and organisations in providing resources, care and options for the Papuan population. It could also include management aspects and aspects of collecting data because there's very few reliable health information to date available from Papua."

Remco van de Pas