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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Post-Courier/PINA, Dec. 23) - Twenty children are reported dead and 10 others are dying from a measles outbreak in the Hengonofi area of Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands.

"If we don’t contain this situation, we are going to have a catastrophe, a national disaster," said Henganofi MP Banare Bun, a medical doctor, after visiting the area:

He said those affected most are children aged five years and below.

The outbreak is attributed to a lack of mother-child-health clinics over the past five to six years, where newborn babies are normally vaccinated, he said.

Bun warned that 10,000 to 15,000 children could die if the outbreak is not contained. The possibility of it spreading into the province was high, he added.

Dr Bun said he had spoken to the health authorities in Goroka and they were helping him address the situation. But the province did not have the medicine and the vaccines, manpower and transportation to deliver the supplies.

December 24, 2002

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

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