by Tokana Hasavi – EM TV, Port Moresby
In the past two weeks, EMTV News has been closely monitoring Papua New Guinea’s defensive plans to combat the potential impact of Ebola, despite authorities downplaying the chances as “slim”.
Initially, Health Secretary, Pascoe Kase, raised alarm bells when he expressed PNG’s lack of capacity.
Last week, health authorities and relevant border agencies, including the World Health Organisation, convened to discuss the country’s protective measures, against the deadly virus.
This week, public views were gauged, with a majority calling for immediate protective measures at Papua New Guinea’s entry points.
And today, PNG Defence Force Brigadier General, Gilbert Toropo, explained his administration’s assistance to Ebola, as per the Health Department’s National Contingency Plan.
The plan specifically highlights core functions of the Defence Force in the event of a public health emergency.
- Assist with containment of the virus
- Assist in disease surveillance
- Provide isolation wards, field hospitals and assist in public health initiatives
- Provide logistical support for response activities
General Toropo says resources and personnel will be utilised, if and when required.
Toropo also stressed the need for open dialogue to implement a quarantine facility to prepare and protect the country.
At present, that asset is non-existent and the Health Department is tasked to locate a suitable area.
Another stakeholder’s meet will be staged on Friday in Port Moresby, at Waigani’s Aopi Centre to further discussions on protective measures at Papua New Guinea’s ports of entry.