28 Oct 2009

PNG health authorities step up cholera prevention campaign

8:26 pm on 28 October 2009

Health authorities in Papua New Guinea are stepping up measures to prevent the spread cholera following a surge after reports of the disease in Madang province..

In neighbouring Morobe more than 20 people died from the disease in August and September but a hygiene campaign eased the outbreak, until a resurgence in the past fortnight.

Now local media report more than 30 people in Madang are hospitalised with cholera.

The Secretary for Health, Dr Clement Malau, says he can't confirm that but says provinces throughout the country were ordered onto alert weeks ago when a a public health emergency was declared in Morobe.

He says a task force set up in response to those first reported cases has now intensified its awareness campaign.

"We have actually informed all provinces to be wary of the fact that we now have cholera in the country. And all the provinces would have by now set up their individual task forces to respond to cholera if it does arrive in their province. So that would have been in place and I'm really hoping we would have followed protocols."

Dr Clement Malau says health officials and the World Health Organisation are working to educate people about basic sanitation and personal hygiene.