17 Dec 2009

WHO in PNG calls on authorities to provide safe water following cholera

8:11 am on 17 December 2009

The World Health Organisation in Papua New Guinea is calling on authorities to do more to provide safe water to communities, or risk a cholera outbreak to become permanent.

1,350 people across three provinces are now suffering from cholera, which has claimed 35 lives so far.

The water-borne illness is being transmitted through contaminated water.

The WHO's representative, Dr Eigil Sorensen, says health workers won't be able to stop the outbreak successfully without the provision of piped and chlorinated water for all.

"The WHO feels that more efforts are needed by the authorities to focus on safe water access. Particularly for people living in the settlements. And we think that this is something that the authorities need to take more action on, because otherwise [there's] the likelihood that cholera will actually remain permanently in PNG."

Dr Eigil Sorensen, from the WHO.