PNG

AUSTRALIA PROVIDES SUPPORT TO PNG TO TACKLE CHOLERA OUTBREAK

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS - KEVIN RUDD

The Australian Government is providing comprehensive emergency support to the Government of Papua New Guinea, in response to a confirmed outbreak of cholera on Daru Island, in PNG's Western Province.

Further medical supplies and emergency experts will arrive in Papua New Guinea tomorrow from Australia to provide additional support.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd today said containing the outbreak was important.

'We are sending more supplies of intravenous fluids, oral salts and water purification tablets as well emergency experts. They will assist the PNG Government assess the environmental, health, sanitation and water supply interventions to help contain the spread of cholera' said Mr Rudd.

The assistance is additional to the emergency medical supplies that have been delivered through a joint PNG-Australia-World Health Organisation mission, which arrived in Daru on 11 November to assess the situation.

That team included an AusAID emergency response officer, epidemiologists from the World Health Organization and an emergency response team from the PNG National Department of Health.

The team delivered emergency medical supplies including:

- more than 1000 litres of IV fluids

- 1200 doses of oral rehydration salts

- 800 x 10 litre containers of clean water

- 50,000 water purification tablets

- 1000 information posters on how to prevent cholera.

'The situation in Western Province is difficult, with this outbreak occurring in an isolated area of the country where services were already stretched. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and stand ready to provide additional assistance to PNG if needed.' said Mr Rudd.

For the longer term, Australia and PNG have agreed to a new project in Western Province that will provide clean water to a number of villages along the coast of PNG adjacent to the Torres Strait.

This assistance builds on AusAID support to PNG since 2009 to prevent and contain cholera in the country.

In September 2009 and July 2010, Australia provided $1.7 million in response to previous cholera outbreaks and ongoing support to the World Health Organisation to respond to future outbreaks.

The funding was for medical supplies and staff to assist the PNG National Department of Health and World Health Organization.

CANBERRA
13 SEPTEMBER 2010
Minister's Office:02 62777500
AusAID:0417 680 590