by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil has called on the national government and health department to prepare facilities outside of Port Moresby to contain the potential threat of the Ebola virus.
Basil’s call comes as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott raised concerns about the potential spread of Ebola in the region.
Basil will be meeting with health officials to make plans to restrict the migration of people traveling to his district in Bulolo, should the killer virus hit PNG.
Bulolo MP Sam Basil described a bottom-up approach to restrict the movement of people going to Bulolo if the killer virus hits PNG.
It is a drastic measure thought out to keep the Ebola virus from entering remote parts of Bulolo. The stance may be enough to save communities separated by fast flowing rivers and mountains.
“I will call some health experts very soon and we will devise a shutdown program for Bulolo, if and when Ebola hits PNG,” said Basil.
Basil explained that the real concern for the government and health officials is the virus spreading through Port Moresby, Lae and the other centres.
Hospitals, already struggling with their day-to-day functions, will not have the capacity to deal with the containment and treatment of the killer virus.
If Ebola reaches our shores, it will have a severe effect on the country’s economy; Port Moresby General Hospital may not have the capacity to contain the spread.
An expensive, isolated treatment facility outside of Port Moresby must be budgeted by the government.
“Health Minister Malabag and the Prime Minister [have got] to come out clearly on the issue,” said Basil.
The Deputy Opposition leader’s call came when Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, on his way to Indonesia, stopped in Port Moresby to raise concerns about the potential spread of Ebola in Papua New Guinea.
It is understood that the Australian Prime Minister may have discussed contingency plans with Prime Minister Peter O’Neil.
The Australian government has put together a rapid-response team that will respond to outbreaks in the region to stop the killer virus reaching Australian soil.