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Wairori, Wanigela report almost 900 cases

By Nellie Setepano PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 22, 2010) – PGK1.2 MILLION [US$429,000] has been approved for Central Province to fight cholera.

Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu confirmed this to the World Health Organization, national and provincial health officials and the media on Saturday during a cholera assessment visit to most affected areas of Waiori and Wanigela and the Kupiano health centre in the Abau district.

Meeting with officials at Kupiano station, Sir Puka said cabinet had approved the money which was good news for cholera workers in the province.

Two weeks ago the villages of Waiori, and Wanigela in the Marshall Lagoon area were hit hard by cholera.

Waiori reported 527 cases while in Wanigela there were 329 cases.

All these cases were reported to Kupiano health station. Sir Puka said he was concerned about the two big villages that lived over the water and resettling these villages would not be an option.

"Resettling people is not an answer," he said.

He said he hoped to find a better solution than resettling them.

"The immediate solution is improving water and sanitation in Kupiano town and with nearby villages enjoying that same service.

"Kupiano town has water problems and the only source is the main water pumped from the river to the reservoir but it has not been maintained, leaving a station high and dry.

"The station is reliant on water tanks," Sir Puka said.

He thanked the efforts of all concerned in the fight against cholera and reiterated the need for practising proper hygiene.

"While every effort has been streamlined, the medium and long term awareness has to be there," the Member for Abau said.

He said water and sanitation water was not isolated to Kupiano but was a nationwide problem which needed improvement with the right type of technical support in designing such a project.

Sir Puka assured officials that he would meet with the European Union to speed up a water project that had been in place at the station a decade ago.

The water project study by Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) was submitted to EU by the PNG Water Board.

The cholera outbreak in the villages of Wariori, Wanigela, Gavuone, Kupiano, Kalapi, Maopa and Kalapi has prompted the Deputy Prime Minister to fast track this plan and make it work for his people.

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