19 Jan 2010

PNG urged by WHO to take more action to stop cholera spread

8:59 pm on 19 January 2010

The World Health Organisation says Papua New Guinea must initiate policy changes and invest more resources to stop the spread of cholera.

1,900 people across the East Sepik, Madang and Morobe provinces have been infected with the cholera bacteria and close to 40 have died since the outbreak began in the second half of last year.

The WHO's PNG representative, Dr Eigil Sorensen, says the government is still focusing on an emergency response, but a shift in thinking is now needed.

"With having cholera now for about 5 months we need to look at the more medium-term measures; those particularily related to improve water, sanitation. They really require more rethinking on the government's [side] on, let's say, water and sanitation. That will require a policy change and much more resources."

Eigil Sorensen says the affected provinces have now received about 100 000 US dollars each from the government to deal with the immediate response.