Polio workers to be deployed in 49 districts in PNG

Picture: RNZ

PORT MORESBY, 27 AUGUST 2018 (POST COURIER) – The Papua New Guinea Health Department is mobilising 4964 polio workers who will be deployed to 49 districts.

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in PNG Dr Luo Dapeng said the mass polio vaccination campaigns are being implemented in Papua New Guinea following confirmation on June 22 that poliovirus is circulating after 18 years polio-free.

“To date, four cases have been confirmed – two in Morobe, one in Enga and one from Eastern Highlands Province and 85 per cent suspected cases.

“Mass polio vaccination campaigns are being implemented in Papua New Guinea following confirmation on June 22 that poliovirus is circulating in the country after 18 years polio-free.

Dr Dapeng said a nationwide polio vaccination campaign is planned for September and October targeting 1,265,000 children under five years old.

He said WHO remains committed to fighting this polio outbreak alongside the Government and other partners.

“This fight will be challenging, but if we work together, we are optimistic we can be polio-fee again.

“WHO has deployed more than 20 international experts to support the Government in the response and additional personnel are on their way to the country to support the campaign.

“Since the start of the outbreak, WHO has supported the Health Department in establishing 10 emergency operations centres (EOC) to serve as operational hubs for the management of day-to-day response operations,” he said.

He said the national EOC based in Port Moresby was activated within 24 hours after the national health emergency was declared by the Government.

Provincial EOCs were established in Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands while new EOCs are being set up in Enga, Chimbu, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Hela.

“We commend government and partners’ efforts of a successful first round of polio campaign in three provinces”, said UNICEF representative, Mr David McLoughlin.

“UNICEF procured and delivered one million doses of oral polio vaccines in early August for use in the second round of polio campaign.

“To ensure proper storage and handling of vaccines to remain effective, UNICEF also provided technical support to repair faulty vaccine refrigerators in the provinces and installed new refrigerators,” he said.

The polio vaccination campaign in PNG is organised by the Health Department and the Provincial Health Authorities, with support from the WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

The GPEI is spearheaded by the National Government, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF.

More Stories