National Department of Health (NDoH)

3.2 million children vaccinated

The biggest polio vaccination campaign to be implemented in PNG mobilised more than 9,000 health workers and volunteers.

“As of 31 October 2018, we have immunised 3,112,035 children under 15 years old against polio, and this had been made possible through the hard work and dedication of our polio workers on the ground,” said the Secretary of the National Department of Health (NDOH), Pascoe Kase.

“I commend the leadership of the provincial health agencies and emergency operations coordinators for effectively launching and managing a very challenging response operations.”

3yo down with polio

The case is the third in the country, following confirmation of two cases from Lae, Morobe Province in June and July 2018.

The confirmation was made on Friday 3 August by the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory – a WHO Collaborating Centre in Australia.

The boy had an onset of symptoms on 30 June and onset of paralysis on 2 July. His vaccination history is unknown due to unavailability of the baby clinic book, and his travel history is being established.

Health facilities devastated by PNG quake

On 26 February, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea, triggering landslides, affecting water sources and wiping out houses, health facilities, people and crops. More than 190 aftershocks have been recorded, according to the United States Geological Survey, including one as recently as 20 March.

WHO, NDoH deploy emergency health teams

A devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces on 26 February, triggering landslides that are reported to have wiped out villages, contaminated drinking water and disrupted rivers.

“We offer our deep-felt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones as a result of the earthquake. We are working closely with the National Department of Health to provide assistance where most needed,” said WHO Country Representative, Dr Luo Dapeng.

Health dept inserts medical teams in disaster areas

Dr Sam Yockopua, the medical controller of Hela and SHP Health Disaster Response, said the teams were inserted yesterday (March 7).

Each team comprises a senior medical officer in emergency medicine, 1 Australian specialist paramedic, 1 PNG paramedic, 1 specialist emergency nurse, 2 public health officers and 1 World Health Organization/UNICEF representative.

“They are working with management and team on the ground, assisting and gathering accurate information as much as possible,” stated Dr Yockopua in his NDoH insertion update.

PNG health partners farewell Dr Pavlin

Pavlin departed Papua New Guinea this Saturday, March 18 to work at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

Dr. Pavlin, who has been with the WHO Papua New Guinea office for the last five years, has worked closely with the National Department of Health (NDoH) and has been pivotal in establishing the Field Epidemiology Training (FET) for Papua New Guinea, which to date has produced over 45 field epidemiologists.

This training program is supported by the WHO, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Hunter New England Health, and CDC.

New vaccination to fight cervical cancer

The Gardasil vaccination, also called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, enables the body to protect itself against most types of cervical cancer and genital warts and is most effective when given to young girls before the onset of sexual activity.

HPV is one of the main contributing factors to cervical cancer.

Eligible girls will receive two doses of the vaccination 6 months apart.

At the airport to receive the 3 pallets of vaccines were Dr Edward Waramin (NDOH Adolescent Health Manager), Dr Julia Stinshoff and Johnny Arava (NDOH Acting EPI Manager).

Health Department’s Christmas message

Health secretary Pascoe Kase said this in his Christmas message to Papua New Guinea.

“By 2017, the Health Department proposes to have a bill passed for specialist hospitals. Four hospitals in the country will be declared Specialist Hospitals. Only patients who need specialist medical care will be referred to those hospitals,” Kase said in a statement.

“Health has come a long way prior to independence, primarily focusing on the clinical care and treatment programs, rehabilitation of general hospitals and building of district health facilities.

Health Secretary calls on WHP health workers to return to work

And the department is calling on all the medical officers employed by the NDoH to return to work.

“Should you not return to work immediately, I will formally seek an investigation into whether the actions amount to professional misconduct with a view to dismissing those found in breach of their contract,” Health Secretary Pascoe Kase warned.

“I am disappointed that the medical staff of WHPHA have been capable and ready once again to abandon their posts and to be the direct cause of a great deal of distress and suffering of affected patients and their families,” he said.