Immunization Strategy launched

The National Immunization Strategy (NIS) 2021- 2025 for Papua New Guinea launched recently, defines and prioritizes the government’s main objectives and strategies to strengthen the country's immunization program.

The NIC will also see a shift towards decentralization of the health system. The NIS calls for the immediate and urgent ‘resuscitation’ of the immunization program to avoid further collapse and the probable resurgence of multiple outbreaks like polio, measles; and in parallel to initiate its ‘rehabilitation; over the next five years.

Health Secretary Dr Osborne Liko, in launching the document appealed to all CEOs and provincial health directors to take leadership and responsibility to implement NIS and to protect children from serious vaccine preventable diseases.

He highlighted the Government’s highest commitment for national immunization program and also acknowledged the support of international and national partners.

The sustaining strategies described in NIS for the immunization program will encompass all levels of the health system and all program components to reach not only national targets, but also to reach global and regional immunization targets set in WHO Global Immunization Agenda 2030.

World health Organization PNG Country Representative, Dr Sevil Huseynova congratulated the Department of Health on developing and endorsing the National Immunization Strategy 2021- 2025, which will guide directions for country immunization programme in coming years.

Dr Huseynova said WHO will continue to provide lead technical support to both Department of Health and Provincial Health Authorities for the effective implementation of NIS with consultants to be deployed all provinces in 2023 and requested the best use of their support at provincial level.

She was glad that Papua New Guinea has already introduced vaccines against 10 serious vaccine preventable diseases like polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, rubella and hepatitis B.

Dr Huseynova also encouraged the introduction of the HPV vaccine to protect against serious cancer caused by Human Papilloma Virus, cervical cancer. 

“The benefits of vaccines extend well beyond health. With an investment of just a few KINA per child, vaccine programme provide a high economic return on investment through healthy population,” she said.

Dr Huseynova added that the upcoming measles-rubella and polio supplementary immunization activity in mid-2023, is targeted to vaccinate all under 5 years children in the country, which is around 15 percent of the country population.

“The campaign will intend to prevent serious outbreaks, and will be used as an opportunity to
strengthen all components of immunization program.”

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