Polio centre revises campaign after Engan cases

The third case of polio in Enga Province has prompted the National Emergency Operations Centre for the polio outbreak response to revise the supplementary polio immunisation campaign.

The second round of the special polio vaccination will be extended to nine provinces; this is 3 times the coverage of the first round.

The National Emergency Operations Centre for the Polio Outbreak Response announced that the second round of the vaccination campaign will include the 3 initial provinces of Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands, and extended to Enga, Simbu, Southern, Western, Jiwaka and Hela provinces.

Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands provinces will commence round 2 on August 20 while the 6 additional Highlands provinces will commence their first round immediately a week later on August 27.

“In the next round of campaign, we’re aiming to reach more than 700,000 children under 5 years old in the nine provinces to ensure they’re protected against polio,” said Sir Puka Temu, Health, HIV and AIDS Minister.

A nationwide polio vaccination campaign will be rolled out from September to October targeting over a million children below the age of 5.

A million polio vaccines procured by UNICEF in addition to what the national government has procured will support round 2 in the 9 provinces.

“The vaccines arrived on Tuesday, August 7th, and UNICEF is supporting the distribution of the vaccines to the 9 provinces,” confirmed Dr Monjur Hossain UNICEF’s Chief of Health Programme.

To strengthen the surveillance systems, more than 200 government staff in the 9 provinces have been trained by WHO to detect and investigate suspected cases. To date, 55 suspected cases are been investigated.

“To better support the government, WHO will continue to mobilize financial, human and logistical resources for this campaign and overall outbreak response operations,” WHO PNG Representative Luo Dapeng reaffirmed WHO’s commitment.

(Picture: WHO)

Carolyn Ure