21 Jan 2015

Medical facilities at Manus seen as inadequate

9:10 pm on 21 January 2015

A Sydney-based doctor and convener of the advocacy group Doctors for Refugees says medical facilities at Australia's asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea are inadequate to deal with ongoing hunger strikes.

Hundreds of asylum seekers have been on hunger strike since last week, with dozens of people having to be treated for dehydration and self-harm.

Dr Barri Phatarfod says an asylum seeker died in September in a Brisbane hospital after he developed septicaemia when he cut his foot at Manus Island.

Dr Phatarfod says that death was entirely preventable, and she has grave concerns about the current hunger strikes.

"Now we don't know how quickly these people are going to deteriorate because clearly three or four doctors are not able to measure the blood pressure, temperature, weight, and urine output of 700 people. So it's an absolute disaster, we could easily have fatalities out of this and it will all be on the government's hands."

Barri Phatarfod.

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