22 Jun 2010

Water system needs upgrade to fight PNG cholera, says doctor

3:15 pm on 22 June 2010

The man overseeing efforts to contain a cholera emergency in the National Capital District in Papua New Guinea is pushing to extend water and sewerage systems to outlying villages in the district.

Dr Timothy Pyakalyia says there are villages, one with up to 17 thousand people, without proper sanitation, making it easy for the water-borne disease to spread.

He says the cholera outbreak which has killed four in Port Moresby, and another 16 in adjacent Central Province, has highlighted weaknesses in the region's current system and it's too big an issue for the health sector alone to deal with.

"Somehow the system was privatised ten, fifteen years ago and then the system that existed when it was funded under government. You are talking about who pays and who doesn't so you end up compromising. This has caused a breakdown in some parts. We now need to try and find ways to get funding including development partners to help with the repairing of the system that has broken down."

Controller of the cholera emergency in PNG's National Capital District, Dr Timothy Pyakalyia.