15 Sep 2009

Health crisis eases in PNG's Morobe province

6:25 pm on 15 September 2009

There are signs the disease outbreaks in Papua New Guinea's Morobe Province are stablising with the local health administrator reporting no deaths from cholera for the past week.

The known death toll from influenza, shigella and cholera is 120 but there are an estimated 6,000 people suffering from the illnesses.

Since the declaration of a public health emergency a week ago more help has become available, but a number of agencies and NGOs have been on the ground in the province for some time.

These include Medicins Sans Frontieres, and one of its nurses, Veronique de Clerc, says they have set up a cholera treatment centre in collaboration with Lae's Angau Hospital.

"We have set up an isolation structure that has a bed capacity of about 85 beds, and we are receiving patients directly through us and treating them obviously for the main part is re-hydration."

Veronique de Clerc says once re-hydrated most patients are cured of cholera.