8 Feb 2012

New drive to fight leprosy in PNG

4:23 pm on 8 February 2012

Leprosy Mission New Zealand is working with the World Health Organisation and the Papua New Guinea Department of Health on a new strategy to combat a resurgence of the disease in PNG.

Leprosy Mission New Zealand's programme manager in PNG, Matt Halsey, says the re-emergence of the disease is severe.

He says, overall, the country had been declared free of the disease - that is no more than one case per ten thousand people - but he says there are areas in the country where levels are much higher than that.

Mr Halsey says the challenge is to improve health service delivery in remote areas and this is the focus of the new strategy.

"Really it is a matter of making the best use of the resources that are there and getting the provincial authorities in the high endemic areas and help staff in those areas all working together to deliver the health services more effectively and as part of that we can get leprosy under control in those areas, but this is always a challenge in countries like PNG."

Leprosy Mission New Zealand's Matt Halsey