Maprik aims to vaccinate 30,000 children

Maprik district has set a target to vaccinate 30 thousand children following a confirmed case in East Sepik Province.

The district health office has teams working around the clock to reach the set target at the end of the week.

Vaccination campaign teams stationed at seven health facilities throughout Maprik district have reached at least half of the set target.

Health Manager Raymond Pohonai said health workers have so far reached at least half that number since the launch on October 1st; its biggest challenge is the vast geological terrain to reach most communities.

The World Health Organisation is also in the province; its officers are monitoring the polio campaign nationwide.

James Heffelfinger, a technical officer for New Vaccine with the Expanded Programme on Immunization, is in Maprik town with partners from UNICEF, doing door-to-door monitoring and survey, and also covering at least three nearby villages.

“We are going from house to house to (check) if all the children in each house has been vaccinated. We’d like to know that children under 15 years old have received the Oral Polio Vaccine, so we can issue if they have not.”

Heffelfinger said polio is a widespread risk.

“The obvious early symptoms are fever, stiffness, muscle aches and eventually the affected child will lose tone ability to move his or her muscles.”

UNICEF China’s Zhu Xu said due to the inefficiency and ineffective response to polio during the outbreak in the year 2000, the virus was able to resurface, and that’s why each vulnerable child must be reached and vaccinated.

Salome Vincent