8 Sep 2009

PNG's top medical official leads a team to areas hit by illness

7:20 am on 8 September 2009

Papua New Guinea's top medical official will today lead a team to assess the districts of Morobe province hit by outbreaks of cholera and shigella bacterial infection.

The diseases have already claimed at least 100 lives but local estimates have put the death toll at over four hundred.

The Government is still considering whether to declare a state of emergency which would free up more resources, though the Secretary for Health Dr Clement Malau, says a lot of work is already being done by the more than 90 medical staff in the region.

But he says they will be looking for additional help from outside Morobe.

"So we are working on other adjacent provinces and districts to help so that is why I am going up there with the Chief Secretary. Chief Secretary has also offered to come with us, together with the World Health Organisation and the AusAID representative here. We are going up to make a quick assessment of what is being done at the moment."

Papua New Guinea's Secretary for Health Dr Clement Malau.