20 Dec 2010

WHO working to combat worrying levels of STI in Bougainville

4:47 pm on 20 December 2010

The World Health Organisation says parts of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville face alarming levels of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.

WHO statistics reveal that in some communities up to two thirds of certain age groups have STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis or chancroid.

The WHO's technical advisor, Dr Salim Reza, who is currently in Bougainville, says part of the problem is the lack of clinic facilities and absence of training in STI prevention for health workers.

"And accessibility of the people to the health centre actually now they don't have an STI clinic now so they don't feel free to talk about the issue with the health worker and there is no awareness programme at the community level."

Dr Reza says the first priority for the WHO is to get health workers trained in dealing with STIs, possibly starting as early as next month.

He says there will also be efforts to ensure the province has enough drugs to counter the diseases, while STI clinics will be set up at four locations by the Division of Health.