Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barter suspects “mystery” Manam disease to be cholera


Former Madang Governor Sir Peter Barter tonight confirmed that 15 people had died on Manam Island from an unconfirmed disease, believed to be cholera.
Dr Sibauk Bieb, the co-ordinator for operations of the cholera taskforce in Madang was flown to Dugalava and Bien on Manam by Sir Peter in his helicopter, where it was confirmed that 15 people had died and several more remained at Bien health centre, which is now downgraded to an aid post.   
 Dr Sibek Bieb (centre) talking to villagers on Manam Island yesterday.

 “Dr Bieb was advised that a family of four had visited Dangale village last week and upon their return to Dugalava No.2, they got sick and within three hours they were dead,” Sir Peter said.
 “All those dead are from Dugalava and Dr Bieb feels that those who have become ill have probably contracted cholera as it appears all the people affected are people who may have handled the bodies of the deceased.”
 The people in villages on Manam were quite hungry.
 Sir Peter was told the gardens were not producing and the only food they had was banana, which the people claimed were very dry.
 All the rice given to them had gone complained, a mother of four from Dugalava No. 1.
 Sir Peter flew to Bogia to where Dr Bieb advised the staff of Bogia health centre not to send any more bodies back to Manam and arrange to have them buried in Bogia.
 “He (Dr Bieb) also advised the staff to practice caution themselves when handling those that were sick and bodies of those who had died,” Sir Peter said.
 “Before returning to Madang, further stops were made at Malala High School, Asurumba and Mangem care centres to advise the people from Dangale and Dugalava of the situation and advise that a further medical team was on the way to Bogia and warn them not to take any further bodies back to Manam.
Dr Sibek Bieb (right) meeting with Manam islanders at Asuramba care centre on mainland Madang yesterday.-Picture courtesy of SIR PETER BARTER

 “It is expected that Dr Bieb will make a full report to the provincial health office and National Disaster Office so that action be taken to stop any further spread of the sickness that will be most likely diagnosed as cholera.”

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