Polio strategies developed

The Department of Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF have developed strategies going forward in response to the polio outbreak in the country.

These strategies came about following lessons learnt in the last 100 days of the emergency response.

The polio outbreak response plan of Papua New Guinea focuses on three main components: 

  • Supplementary immunisation activities
  • Enhanced surveillance; and
  • Communication

The supplementary immunisation activities have seen two national immunisation campaigns targeting more than 3.26 million children under 15 years old across 22 provinces.

The first national vaccination campaign is currently underway and will end on October 14th while the second round will be from October 22nd-Nov 11th.

In terms of enhanced surveillance, the priority would be in strengthening the capacity of the provincial health practitioners in detecting cases of acute flaccid paralysis, active case finding and maintaining a robust system to conduct case investigations and sample collection.

In the communication front, plans are to make the social mobilisation approaches such as community awareness and distribution of brochures and information materials more strategic to have long-term benefits to the affected communities beyond the emergency phase.

This would include promoting long-term behaviour changes and increasing the coverage of routine immunisation.

Carolyn Ure