PNG’s epidemiologist backs Samoa’s vaccination drive

One of Papua New Guinea’s top epidemiologists has stepped up to support the mass vaccination campaign sanctioned by the Samoan government to overcome the measles crisis.

Dr Mathias Bauri, team leader to PNG’s 14 member Emergency Medical Team responding to Samoa’s SOS to the measles crisis, is putting his weight behind the compulsory vaccination drive.

As one of PNG’s best epidemiologists, Dr. Bauri from 2009 has responded to in-country outbreak of infectious diseases threatening PNG, which also included the 2014 Ebola scare, the 2013-2014 measles outbreak and last year’s polio crisis.

And in all the crisis, which PNG has endured, he says low vaccination or immunisation coverage in the most vulnerable group – children under 5 years old – is the leading cause.

Just this week, the British Medical Journal also published a paper which he co-authored titled, “6 years in the field of Epidemiology Training in Papua New Guinea”.

From Central and Madang provinces, Dr Bauri is a medical graduate from the University of Papua New Guinea.
He holds a Master in Public Health and Master of Business Administration (MPH-MBA) from the James Cook University in Australia and has also done studies in field epidemiology in India, complemented by specialised training in the United States.

He has a clear understanding of disease and knowledge in disease surveillance and response, and he is a current Faculty Member for Epidemiology Training in Papua New Guinea.

After reviewing the local epidemic’s data since arriving from Port Moresby on Sunday, Dr Bauri says like the numerous outbreaks of infectious diseases in his country, Samoa’s low immunisation coverage had the symptoms of an outbreak which the country is now experiencing.

However, from the successful compulsory vaccination drive “follow up routine immunisation must be maintained and sustained”.

Samoa is his first infectious diseases outbreak response outside of PNG, but he is looking forward to experience working side by side with the best emergency management personnel in the world.

“Our priority is to relieve the Samoan health care providers who need our help,” added the modest Dr. Bauri.
The 14 member Emergency Medical Team from PNG will be working around the clock with their local and international colleagues at the National Hospital.

Their deployment ends on 19 January 2020.

(PNG’s emergency medical team including Dr Bauri, backrow, centre)

Press release