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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (December 30, 1999 – Post-Courier)---Medical supplies worth K 4.2 million for hospitals remain sitting at the Port Moresby wharf awaiting clearance.

Health Department Acting Secretary Dr. Issac Ake said the supplies, which include chemicals and intravenous fluids, are part of supplementary supplies which the Australian government -- through its aid agency, AusAID -- had bought.

Dr. Ake said AusAID had committed $A 10 million towards medical supplies for year 2000 and the cargo remaining at the wharf is the first batch for which they made payment.

The Australian assistance, he said, complements that which the department itself ordered.

He explained that the problem was not with the Customs Office in Port Moresby, but rather with the "Bill of Lading'' documents which contain the details of the cargo.

According to Dr. Ake, the supplies were paid for in Australia and they had yet to receive the documents required to make clearance possible.

He said his officers were working with the AusAID office in Port Moresby to locate the papers.

Despite this, Dr. Ake said medical stores around the country had been assured that there were enough supplies in stock for the next several months.

In relation to the Y2K issue, Dr. Ake does not anticipate any problems as most of the equipment in hospitals are not computerized and are operated mechanically.

However, he said that staff would be working at the Health Department headquarters during the rollover period to ensure smooth operations into the new year.

For additional reports from the Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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