9 Sep 2009

PNG Health Minister say command centres in Morobe will help manage disease outbreaks

1:28 pm on 9 September 2009

The Papua New Guinea Health Minister, Sasa Zibe, is taking strong exception to media reports of the numbers who have died in the disease epidemics hitting Morobe province.

He says the separate outbreaks of cholera and shigella bacteria have left about ninety people dead, despite the Governor of Morobe, Luther Wenge, putting the death toll at over four hundred, while the Post Courier newspaper reports over 100 deaths from cholera alone.

He has declared a public emergency and says the establishment of command posts in the disease zones will allow more precise monitoring of the numbers affected.

"One area where I am very very frustrated because you can see that we do not have the command post. Once we have that every report it should come to the command post where it will be weighted, and then come to us [government]. But instead, people are just flying any sort - do not believe in this 101 figure, that is just b******* I would say. It's not true. It's less than that."