28 Aug 2007

PNG to examine reports of AIDS sufferers being buried alive

3:45 pm on 28 August 2007

Papua New Guinea's National Aids Council is flying staff into the Southern Highlands to check reports that people suffering AIDS have been buried alive.

A volunteer with Igat Hope, an organisation supporting those who are HIV positive, said she had witnessed people being buried alive on three occasions.

Margaret Marabe said families took such action because they could no longer care for the sick or were afraid of catching the disease themselves.

The acting director of the National Aids Council Secretariat, Romanus Pakure, says in remote parts, health workers are still battling fear and lack of knowledge:

"There is still discrimination, stigma discrimination. This part where the reports are, we've got our health centres there that can report and they can verify these things. At the moment they are unverifiable facts."

Mr Pakure says the Council's legal officer has contacted police in the area.