MALARIA STILL THE BIG KILLER AS PNG BATTLES MOSQUITOES

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 17, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---Malaria remains the major killer disease in Papua New Guinea.

Health Minister Ludger Mond told Parliament that the mosquito-borne illness still accounted for the highest number of fatalities a year.

Although research continues at the Medical Research Institute at Goroka into a way to counter malaria, nothing concrete has been discovered, Mr. Mond told Parliament.

He was answering a question from Hagen MP Paul Pora who wanted to know what was being done to control the spread of the illness.

He said the Highlands area, too, now is under attack by malaria.

He asked whether it was possible to seek assistance from overseas sources to fund studies into a cure.

Mr. Mond said the government was looking to China to procure supplies of a tablet that seemed to work against malaria.

The Minister also told Parliament that the government had no immediate plans to privatize the supply of drugs. He said there had been keen interest from companies willing to take on the responsibility.

He said the advantage of the government holding on to supplying drugs is to ensure that drugs are affordable.

He was answering questions from Morobe Regional MP Luther Wenge.

Mr. Mond said the country also faces a huge shortage of doctors.

The ratio of doctors is one of the lowest in the South Pacific region, he said. Although the Medical Faculty graduates 30 doctors a year, this is still not enough.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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