First polio death in 14 cases reported

Picture: RNZ

PORT MORESBY, 02 OCTOBER 2018 (POST COURIER) – Out of the 14 polio cases confirmed in Papua New Guinea, one patient has died.

World Health Organisation country representative Dr Luo Dapeng confirmed this Monday when speaking at the launch of the nationwide polio vaccination campaign.

“PNG had confirmed a total of 14 cases of polio – five in Eastern Highlands Province, three in Morobe, two in Enga, two in Madang, one in the nation’s capital and one in Jiwaka, however, we have received reports that one of the children in Enga died,” he said.

He said polio has no cure and it is the responsibility of all parents and caregivers to bring their child or children who are 15 years of age and below to be vaccinated.

Executive manager of public health of the Health Department and national coordinator for the polio response Dr Sibauk Bieb said this child who passed away was diagnosed earlier in Enga and died as a result of been paralysed.

“The muscles that contract and help a child breathe were affected by the paralysis and there was no way for this child to survive,” he said.

“Unless if this child was in the hospital that supported him to breathe to maintain this child for the whole of his life.”

He said the remaining 13 polio cases are currently paralysed from their limbs downwards.

Dr Dapeng said the Health Department and partners were mobilising more than 9000 polio workers who would be deployed to 22 provinces during this nationwide campaign.

He said some of these workers would go to the villages, communities, markets, bus stops, schools and places of worship to vaccine children to protect them from life-long paralysis.

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