Australian High Commission Minister-Counsellor, Benedict David, attended the launch and was pleased to announce PGK24 million to combat vaccine preventable diseases in Papua New Guinea.
He said: “Australia and Papua New Guinea are close friends, and we will always look out for each other in times of need. Under the leadership of Minister Temu and the Department of Health, this additional support will help protect PNG’s children from polio and other childhood illnesses.”
The Government of Papua New Guinea has spearheaded a vaccination campaign to eradicate polio in PNG. Minister Temu thanked the many health workers and communities who had supported the Government’s efforts to vaccinate every child in the country from this potentially deadly disease.
Low rates of routine immunisation have led to recent outbreaks of preventable diseases such as polio, measles and whooping cough. In partnership with the World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Australia’s contribution will support the National Department of Health’s emergency polio campaign.
Longer term Australian support will help to increase routine immunisation rates to avoid future outbreaks.
Dr Luo Dapeng, the WHO Representative in PNG, said: “Together, the international community in PNG can help support the Government to ensure a better future for Papua New Guinean children.”
(Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Sir Puka Temu vaccinates a child following the launch of the Nationwide Polio Campaign in Port Moresby)