PNG Minister Urges Ban On Betel Nut To Fight Tuberculosis

admin's picture

Spitting of betel nut linked to spread of drug-resistant disease

By Isaac Nicholas

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 31, 2012) – Minister for Environment and Conservation John Pundari has called for a total ban on betel nut in light of the new deadly tuberculosis (TB) strain that is a threat to the country.

Mr. Pundari made the call during debate yesterday afternoon on the statement presented by Health Minister Michael Malabag to Parliament last week.

He said according to reports the success rate to cure the new deadly TB is very low, and in fact, the risk is higher losing him or her.

"If the new TB is airborne, what have we aggressively done as leaders since this information came to us especially the health authorities?" Mr. Pundari said

He commended Minister Malabag, who he claimed is an aggressive Minister who has indicated that he was looking at means and ways to outlaw chewing and spitting of betel nut in public.

"TB which is becoming drug resistant and we cannot control it and if we have to somehow prevent this disease from spreading, surely if the spitting of betel nut can be a cause to the quick spread of the deadly TB, than it calls for us to do something serious about it."

"We have got to ban it." Mr. Pundari said

"I was just driving on the roads that we have just maintained here in Port Moresby, and if you think its just resealed roads, what do you see on the roads? You tell me"

"It does not only make our city dirty, but is a cause for diseases and sickness. What is life compared to chewing of betel nut."

"Is life worth more than chewing and spitting of betel nut? Is the information we read in the newspapers concerning this drug resistant TB just a decoration on the papers? As leaders, we have to do something about this serious issue."

Mr. Pundari said if the attitudes of those who carelessly spit all over the place is not controlled than how to contain this deadly disease will be impossible.

He said this weekend Prince Charles will be visiting this beautiful country and the city of Port Moresby.

"We just want to make an impression on him that this is a beautiful city with nice roads to drive on. We want to display and show off our capital as a beautiful city and we intend to portray that to the Prince of Wales."

"What pretentious leaders and residents we are. Tell me if I am wrong. You know if he drives on the roads that O’Neill-Dion Government puts money to fix, the Prince is not blind and will still see betel nut stains everywhere… What kind of health properties do we get when we mix betel nut and lime together? Is it Vitamin A or B or C or F?"

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment