​Measles outbreak in Vanimo

There is an outbreak of measles in Vanimo, West Sepik Province, since the 23rd of August, 2017.

The National Department of Health has confirmed this, reporting three villages in Vanimo-Green District affected.

NDoH also noted a quick response from the provincial team in sending a vaccination crew to schools and villages to vaccinate children enrolled from grades 1-8 and under five within the catchment area.

In a statement, Secretary for Health, Pascoe Kase, confirmed the province has 18,000 doses of measles vaccine available for the targeted population.

He also said the national medical supplies stores has sufficient stock to dispatch more vaccines when required.

“However, the magnitude of the outbreak and whether the disease has already spread to other parts of the province or country cannot be determined at this stage, as measles is a very contagious disease,” he said.

The secretary advises the country to be on alert and report immediately to health centres or hospitals if a person has fever or rash with runny nose or red eyes.

In the meantime, the NDoH has activated its Emergency and Response Plan and is providing technical support to assist with the outbreak response.

A team from NDoH and World Health Organisation have been dispatched to Vanimo to assist the province carry out an assessment of the situation on the ground and provide onsite technical support.

Measles vaccine is given at 6 months and 9 months of age to be fully protected against measles and 92 percent immunisation coverage is required for maximum protection in a community.

For PNG, the immunisation coverage varies from province to province.

Therefore Kase urges every parent to get their children for vaccination against measles and for health facilities in the country to be alert in detecting measles cases.

Kase has commended health workers in Vanimo for detecting the measles suspects and for managing accordingly, including laboratory confirmation.

He also thanks the West Sepik Provincial Health Authorities for responding to the outbreak.

(Picture: Byju's)

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