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Mitochondrial genome sequences reveal deep divergences among Anopheles punctulatus sibling species in Papua New Guinea  [cached]
Logue Kyle,Chan Ernest R,Phipps Tenisha,Small Scott T
Malaria Journal , 2013, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-12-64
Abstract: Background Members of the Anopheles punctulatus group (AP group) are the primary vectors of human malaria in Papua New Guinea. The AP group includes 13 sibling species, most of them morphologically indistinguishable. Understanding why only certain species are able to transmit malaria requires a better comprehension of their evolutionary history. In particular, understanding relationships and divergence times among Anopheles species may enable assessing how malaria-related traits (e.g. blood feeding behaviours, vector competence) have evolved. Methods DNA sequences of 14 mitochondrial (mt) genomes from five AP sibling species and two species of the Anopheles dirus complex of Southeast Asia were sequenced. DNA sequences from all concatenated protein coding genes (10,770 bp) were then analysed using a Bayesian approach to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and date the divergence of the AP sibling species. Results Phylogenetic reconstruction using the concatenated DNA sequence of all mitochondrial protein coding genes indicates that the ancestors of the AP group arrived in Papua New Guinea 25 to 54 million years ago and rapidly diverged to form the current sibling species. Conclusion Through evaluation of newly described mt genome sequences, this study has revealed a divergence among members of the AP group in Papua New Guinea that would significantly predate the arrival of humans in this region, 50 thousand years ago. The divergence observed among the mtDNA sequences studied here may have resulted from reproductive isolation during historical changes in sea-level through glacial minima and maxima. This leads to a hypothesis that the AP sibling species have evolved independently for potentially thousands of generations. This suggests that the evolution of many phenotypes, such as insecticide resistance will arise independently in each of the AP sibling species studied here.
HIV Prevention in Papua New Guinea: Is It Working or Not?  [PDF]
Heather Worth
World Journal of AIDS (WJA) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/wja.2012.23016
Abstract: Introduction: There is a global call for structural approaches to HIV that go beyond awareness and HIV testing to approach prevention work via the social and economic drivers of the epidemic. Papua New Guinea is the epicentre of the HIV epidemic in the Pacific, with an adult prevalence rate of 0.9%. Since 2004, there has been a concerted response to HIV, with vastly increased rates of HIV testing and roll-out of antiretroviral therapy, and considerable funding for HIV prevention. Objectives: While incidence is slowing there are still a considerable number of new infections each year and many commentators are worried that HIV prevention is not working in that country. This article aims to critically examine HIV prevention programs in Papua New Guinea to show whether HIV prevention is effectiveness in reaching those most vulnerable to infection. Methods: Using data from HIV prevention programs and behavioural surveys this article will assess how HIV prevention has been carried out and the effectiveness of those programs. Results: There is little evidence to indicate that HIV prevention in Papua New Guinea, particularly among those most at risk of HIV has been successful. Conclusion: there is a dearth of HIV prevention interventions in Papua New Guinea that go beyond awareness-raising to deal with the structural drivers of the epidemic.
Human resource challenges in scaling up the response to HIV in Papua New Guinea  [cached]
John Rule,Heather Worth,Graham Roberts,Richard Taylor
Western Pacific Surveillance and Response , 2012,
Abstract: In Papua New Guinea, an estimated 0.9% of the adult population is infected with HIV, and the spread of the epidemic is geographically heterogeneous. The seriousness of the epidemic presents many issues for the government, donors and nongovernmental organizations. One of the greatest challenges of the HIV response is that of human resources. This article highlights human resource issues specific to HIV in Papua New Guinea and raises a series of questions that need to be addressed.
Giant dolines of the Muller Plateau, Papua New Guinea
James JM
Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers , 2006,
Abstract: The Muller Plateau lies within the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, and is distinguished by its giant dolines. Many of these have exceptionally large dimensions and a morphology comparable to that of the megadolines of the Nakanai Mountains on New Britain and the tiankengs of the South China karst. They are all caprock dolines. The geology, physical geography and hydrology of the Muller Plateau are compared with those of the Nakanai Mountains and the South China karst. Proposed mechanisms for the formation of three groups (Rogorepo, Mamo and Atea) of giant dolines on the Muller Plateau are discussed. The Muller Plateau giant dolines, like the megadolines and the tiankengs, formed during the Pleistocene. The Muller Plateau dolines have formed in an environment that has many similarities to the other giant dolines. However, it is unlikely that they will ever evolve to the magnificence of the Nakanai megadolines or the aesthetics of the Chinese tiankengs, as a controlling factor in their development is a siltstone caprock and impure interbeds within the Darai Limestone.
Cholera risk factors, Papua New Guinea, 2010  [cached]
Rosewell Alexander,Addy Benita,Komnapi Lucas,Makanda Freda
BMC Infectious Diseases , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-12-287
Abstract: Background Cholera is newly emergent in Papua New Guinea but may soon become endemic. Identifying the risk factors for cholera provides evidence for targeted prevention and control measures. Methods We conducted a hospital-based case–control study to identify cholera risk factors. Using stool culture as the standard, we evaluated a cholera point of care test in the field. Results 176 participants were recruited: 54 cases and 122 controls. Independent risk factors for cholera were: being over 20 years of age (aOR 2.5; 95%CI 1.1, 5.4), defecating in the open air (or river) (aOR 4.5; 95% CI 1.4, 14.4) and knowing someone who travelled to a cholera affected area (aOR 4.1; 95%CI 1.6, 10.7); while the availability of soap for handwashing at home was protective (aOR 0.41; 95%CI 0.19, 0.87). Those reporting access to a piped water distribution system in the home were twice as likely to report the availability of soap for handwashing. The sensitivity and specificity of the rapid test were 72% (95% CI 47–90) and 71% (95%CI 44–90%). Conclusions Improving population access to the piped water distribution system and sanitation will likely reduce transmission by enabling enhanced hygiene and limiting the contamination of water sources. The One step V. cholerae O1/O139 Antigen Test is of limited utility for clinical decision making in a hospital setting with access to traditional laboratory methods. Settlement dwellers and mobile populations of all age groups should be targeted for interventions in Papua New Guinea.
Equity and Geography: The Case of Child Mortality in Papua New Guinea  [PDF]
Anna E. Bauze, Linda N. Tran, Kim-Huong Nguyen, Sonja Firth, Eliana Jimenez-Soto, Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, Andrew Hodge, Alan D. Lopez
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037861
Abstract: Background Recent assessments show continued decline in child mortality in Papua New Guinea (PNG), yet complete subnational analyses remain rare. This study aims to estimate under-five mortality in PNG at national and subnational levels to examine the importance of geographical inequities in health outcomes and track progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4. Methodology We performed retrospective data validation of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2006 using 2000 Census data, then applied advanced indirect methods to estimate under-five mortality rates between 1976 and 2000. Findings The DHS 2006 was found to be unreliable. Hence we used the 2000 Census to estimate under-five mortality rates at national and subnational levels. During the period under study, PNG experienced a slow reduction in national under-five mortality from approximately 103 to 78 deaths per 1,000 live births. Subnational analyses revealed significant disparities between rural and urban populations as well as inter- and intra-regional variations. Some of the provinces that performed the best (worst) in terms of under-five mortality included the districts that performed worst (best), with district-level under-five mortality rates correlating strongly with poverty levels and access to services. Conclusions The evidence from PNG demonstrates substantial within-province heterogeneity, suggesting that under-five mortality needs to be addressed at subnational levels. This is especially relevant in countries, like PNG, where responsibility for health services is devolved to provinces and districts. This study presents the first comprehensive estimates of under-five mortality at the district level for PNG. The results demonstrate that for countries that rely on few data sources even greater importance must be given to the quality of future population surveys and to the exploration of alternative options of birth and death surveillance.
Cholera in Papua New Guinea and the importance of safe water sources and sanitation  [cached]
Paul Horwood,Andrew Greenhill
Western Pacific Surveillance and Response , 2012,
Abstract: The recent outbreak of cholera in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has resulted in a large number of illnesses with a relatively high case fatality ratio (3.2%). Access to adequate sanitation and safe water is very low in PNG and has undoubtedly contributed to the spread of cholera within the country.
Biodiversity inventories and conservation of the marine fishes of Bootless Bay, Papua New Guinea  [cached]
Drew Joshua A,Buxman Charlene L,Holmes Darcae D,Mandecki Joanna L
BMC Ecology , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-12-15
Abstract: Background The effective management and conservation of biodiversity is predicated on clearly defined conservation targets. Species number is frequently used as a metric for conservation prioritization and monitoring changes in ecosystem health. We conducted a series of synoptic surveys focusing on the fishes of the Bootless Bay region of Papua New Guinea to generate a checklist of fishes of the region. Bootless Bay lies directly south of Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and experiences the highest human population density of any marine area in the country. Our checklist will set a baseline against which future environmental changes can be tracked. Results We generated a checklist of 488 fish species in 72 families found in Bootless Bay during a two-week sampling effort. Using incident-based methods of species estimation, we extrapolate there to be approximately 940 fish species in Bootless Bay, one of the lowest reported numbers in Papua New Guinea. Conclusions Our data suggest that the Bootless Bay ecosystem of Papua New Guinea, while diverse in absolute terms, has lower fish biodiversity compared to other shallow marine areas within the country. These differences in faunal diversity are most likely a combination of unequal sampling effort as well as biophysical factors within Bootless Bay compounded by historical and/or contemporary anthropogenic disturbances.
Power, pork and patronage: Decentralisation and the politicisation of the development budget in Papua New Guinea  [cached]
Matthew Allen,Zahid Hasnain
Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance , 2010, DOI: 10.5130/cjlg.v0i6.1617
Abstract: This paper examines a number of recent empirical studies of local-level decision-making in relation to development planning and, especially, the allocation of state development funds in Papua New Guinea. The discussion is framed by the extensive theoretical and Papua New Guinea literature on patronage politics and political culture, by the recent history of decentralisation reforms, and by the frequently articulated, but largely anecdotal, observations about the functioning of district and local-level governance processes.In contrast to the anecdotal vision of widespread and chronic dysfunctionality, the studies considered here paint a picture of considerable spatial and regional variation. We offer some tentative hypotheses to explain this variation, while flagging the need for more empirical work. We outline how these preliminary findings have informed a program of research that is currently being undertaken at the district and local government levels with a view to gaining a better understanding of the extent and nature of spatial variation in the local-level governance of state development funds in Papua New Guinea.
Cannibals and Orchids: Cannibalism and the Sensory Imagination of Papua New Guinea  [cached]
Ilaria Vanni
Cultural Studies Review , 2012,
Abstract: This article examines Leona Miller’s book Cannibal and Orchids (1941) as an example of how place, in this case Papua New Guinea (PNG), is imagined according to a particular sensorium. It follows the ‘sensory turn in anthropology’ and the studies developed in the last two decades that take the senses as their object of enquiry. This body of theory is mobilised to analyse Miller’s biographical narrative recounting how PNG is imagined, represented and produced in terms of a disarray of the (Western) senses, coalescing in the trope of cannibalism. This article argues that the experience of PNG as the place of otherness is narrated both in terms of the author’s sensory displacement and of the indigenous sensorium as abject.
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