by Tokana Hasavi – EM TV, Port Moresby
The chances of Ebola entering Papua New Guinea are very low.
This was announced by the National Health Department and the World Health Organisation today in an Ebola management briefing with border authorities and airline and seaport agencies, including NAQIA and relevant stakeholders.
The briefing identified locally-appropriate ways and partnerships that PNG can use to contain Ebola.
Today, the main issues identified were infrastructure, training and an isolated facility that’s yet to be confirmed to treat potential Ebola patients in Port Moresby.
Last week, Health Secretary Pascoe Kase raised concerns over the lack of local capacity to efficiently combat the prospect of Ebola in the country.
At present, no tangible action has been constructed at our air and seaports in tackling the prospect of Ebola. A worrying concern it may be, but chances of that happening have been described as ‘very slim’.
Today, the Health Department explained the country’s defence mechanisms which include the PNG Contingency Plan for Public Health Emergencies and the International Health Guidelines, set by the World Health Organisation.
Dr Sibauk also confirmed that a funding of K500,000 has been allocated for monitoring plans.
At a regional level, World Health Organisation Representative Dr Pieter Van Maaran explained that countries that have a route of entry to PNG, such as the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, have quarantine and monitoring facilities that will assist PNG as it does not have the required capacity.
EM TV understands that the Health Department is placing emphasis on robust partnerships with all relevant stakeholders to protect PNG from a potential Ebola outbreak.
The parties involved in today’s conference will reconvene at a later date to plans into motion.
The issue of confirming a facility for quarantine and monitoring purposes in the country, should Ebola arrive, remains an uncertainty.