19 May 2010

Cholera outbreak in PNG's capital continues to grow

6:44 am on 19 May 2010

A cholera outbreak in Papua New Guinea's capital Port Moresby continues to grow as health officials voice frustration over the lack of government support.

PNG's Health Minister, Sasa Zibe, earlier this month declared a public health emergency in the capital, in the latest flare-up of a cholera outbreak that was first detected in remote provinces in August last year.

This latest outbreak, centred in coastal villages around Port Moresby, has resulted in 573 suspected cases and seven deaths.

On Tuesday, PNG's Post Courier newspaper reported funds to fight the epidemic had dried up, and the government's promised one million US dollars had not yet been released.

Cholera Taskforce representative, Dr Tim Pyakalyia, told the paper he was frustrated by the lack of support.

He said they need to enforce certain measures and need help from the government and from departments like police.

Dr Pyakalyia said tragically, the government has not woken up to this fact yet.

Since the first reported cholera case, more than 3000 have been confirmed nationwide with estimates of between 60 and 100 related deaths.