Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Authorities respond to cholera on Daru

THE Health Department is making arrangements to airlift urgent medical supplies to Daru, Western, as it confirmed a suspected outbreak of cholera in the province, The National reports.

Acting secretary Paul Dopsie said yesterday the department was arranging to airlift oral rehydration solutions, intravenous fluid and other urgent supplies to Daru.

Dopsie said the department was monitoring the situation on the ground and also urged people to take preventive measures.

The department also advised relevant authorities to address poor water and sanitation situation in Daru to avoid further spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases.

Dopsie confirmed the department had received reports of more than 200 patients being treated at the Daru Hospital outpatient wing on Monday night.

He said laboratory samples had been sent to the pathology laboratory at the Port Moresby General Hospital to confirm the cause of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, AusAID is monitoring the cholera outbreak that had killed 15 children and hospitalised more than 60 people.

The outbreak’s proximity to Australia, and the regular flow of PNG people through the Torres Strait, on customary and traditional grounds, is being watched by Australia, authorities said.

“AusAID will meet with World Health Organisation officials and the national government to discuss the findings and, if necessary, may consider a joint mission to Daru,” an official said.

The National reported on Tuesday that hundreds of locals on Daru Island had been treated over the past three weeks, with 15 children dying from cholera.

Dr Amos Lano told The National the children died at both the hospital and their homes from cholera-related symptoms of watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting.

“Patients started feeling sick after drinking well water which is now being checked to determine if it is contaminated,” he said.

Warren Dutton, a former politician, said concerned residents in Kiunga met on Monday night to find ways to prevent the further spread of the disease.

“Up until now, there has been no notification from any of the health or other authorities responsible for the health and safety of the people of Western.

“Hand washing and sanitation has become crucial and we are urging that all flights, especially from Daru into Kiunga, are properly dealt with when passengers get off the plane,” he added.



Baki given seven days


POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki has been given seven days to explain why he should not be suspended and his contract of employment terminated.

Baki told The National that he appeared before the Public Services Commission and was asked to show cause.

He has until next Tuesday to give a written explanation.

Baki is to respond to allegations that he misled Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and senior members of cabinet over a submission for K10 million to deploy police in the liquefied natural gas project areas.

Baki said he appeared before the commission at 1.30 yesterday afternoon.

It is understood that under the Public Service Management Act, and its general orders, any public servant who was alleged to have breached his or her employment contract would be given a minimum of two weeks to respond to the allegations.

Baki said in the meantime, he was performing his duties as police commissioner.

He issued a media statement yesterday afternoon saying he was still in charge, and he would investigate members of the force who were using the opportunity to cause disaffection and disunity in the force.

Baki called upon all police officers currently lobbying for support from government in the appointment of a new head of the force to refrain from doing so and return to their duties.

“I am still the commissioner of police and, if there are matters before cabinet, they will remain that way until cabinet has made its decision.

“Until then, I call upon all police officers, including acting deputy police commissioner Tony Wagambie and NCD metropolitan commander Chief Supt Fred Yakasa, to return to their posts and carry out their mandated duties,” Baki added.

He warned that continued lobbying could destabilise the force and might have negative implications on the law and order situation in the country.

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