Govt backed in measles response

UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) are supporting the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and Department of Health to respond to the recent measles detection in the Gulf and New Ireland provinces.

The WHO and UNICEF have provided a normative guidance and technical assistance to the National Department of Health (NDoH) and have been working alongside their government counterparts throughout the holiday season.

WHO representative, Dr Anup Gurung, congratulated the Health Department for its prompt response to the two measles cases.

He said as per WHO protocol, the samples will sent to the WHO lab centre in Australia for further confirmation.

“Through the New Year and Christmas, I think the Health Department, the Provincial Health and National Emergency Operations Centre must be congratulated that they have been working, they’ve heightened the surveillance across all 22 provinces and therefore we could actually detect the two cases early and appropriate measures have been taken to respond in a timely fashion.”

In collaboration with the WHO, UNICEF health officer, Philomena Tatireta, said they are grateful to work with NDoH and are committed to providing logistical support to ensure that vaccines reach all children in all areas of PNG.

“Unicef remains committed to working with the Government to ensure the vaccination of every eligible child to prevent the further spread of measles in both these provinces and across the country. All children under the age of 2 years must be taken to the nearest health facility to receive a dose of measles vaccine,” she stated.

In the meantime, both organisations have called out to health workers in respective provinces to continue conducting routine vaccinations to ensure children are protected as they provide more support.

(Article by Jamie Haro – third year UPNG Journalism student; File picture of an immunisation exercise in NCD)

Jamie Haro