The Government has warned the nation is facing a “humanitarian crisis” because of the rapid spread of a deadly malaria parasite, with millions of people on the brink of death.
The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has made a series of dramatic announcements in the past few weeks, including the plan to bring the national vaccination rate to 90 per cent.
But Dr David Rizvi, who runs the national programme, said the country’s health system had not been adequately prepared to cope with the spread.
Dr Rizvis said the outbreak in Melbourne was the biggest in Australia since a similar outbreak of the virus in the early 2000s.
“We have a situation where if you’re in the community and you see a child with a fever or vomiting or a cough, that’s a very good sign that there’s the malaria and you’re not going to survive,” he said.
“And the same thing happens in many other parts of Australia, but not in Melbourne.”
“If you’re on the street and you’ve got a child who’s having a fever and vomiting or coughing and then you see them get to hospital, that is a very strong signal that they’re not likely to survive.”
So, we’ve got to be able to effectively intervene to prevent that from happening.
“Dr Riazvi said a significant portion of Melbourne’s population, including those with low incomes, were now living in the city’s inner-city inner suburbs, and they were suffering from poor health.”
If they are not getting the vaccinations and the treatment, they’re going to get malaria,” he told ABC News.”
The community will be at risk, so the emergency services will need to be deployed to get the people who are still in the inner city.
“The Government has also promised $5 million to the States for their emergency response to the virus, but it is unclear how many states have received the funds.
The number of confirmed cases in Melbourne has risen to more than 3,000.
More than 1,000 people have died from the virus and it has caused serious disruption to the lives of thousands of Australians.
The Victorian Government is still waiting for results from coronavirus tests, which will take place over the next few weeks.ABC/AAP