Emotional measles campaign for CHW

In 1981, children started dying from an unknown illness, which caught the attention of International partners.

From the isolated village of Menya, in Concordia, the illness spread to other centres, like Port Moresby.

Emotionally retelling her story during the commemoration of International Nurses Day, Kahu, who is now 590-years-old, said during that time, she had the privilege of working with officers from the World Health Organisation and The Salvation Army.

Morobe launches immunisation campaign

Parents are encouraged to bring their children – from 0 to 5 years – to the nearest clinic to protect them from vaccine preventable diseases.

Sr Patricia Mitiel-Gahanao looks after Family Health Services in the province, which immunisation also falls under.

She described this supplementary immunisation activity as a “preventative campaign” to boost the low coverage rate in the country.

“We want all our children, 0 months to 5 years, to receive two drops of polio vaccine, and 6 months to 5 years to receive the measles-rubella injection and Vitamin A capsules.

Morobe set for immunisation campaign

This follows the launch of the national campaign this week.

Family Health Supervisor at the Morobe Provincial Health Authority, Sr. Patricia Mitiel, said the event will be launched at the Huonville Primary School field in Lae.

“For healthcare facilities rollout, it will be done within their premises or communities and we have a total of 53 recognised healthcare facilities that will work with us on this campaign,” she stated.

Measles, rubella and polio campaign

The National Department of Health, Unicef, the World Health Organisation and Gavi have partnered to roll out a nationwide immunisation campaign against measles, rubella and polio.

In the case of measles, the health team has pointed out that the disease has no specific treatment but can be prevented through immunisation.

“Measles is more severe in children that are malnourished.

“The common signs of the disease include high fever, generalised skin rash, red eyes, a cough and a runny nose.

“Serious complications include an infection of the lung and brain.

Immunization Campaign set for May

In addition, children between 6 months and five years will receive Vitamin A to boost their immunity and prevent diseases and blindness.

This is a critical and timely intervention by the National Department of Health, as Papua New Guinea (PNG) faces a high risk of disease outbreak due to low immunization coverage across the country.

It is commendable that the government is taking proactive steps to protect children from deadly and debilitating vaccine-preventable diseases.

1.2mil Vaccine Doses Delivered

This immunisation coverage was made possible through the Accelerated Immunisation and Health System Strengthening (AIHSS) project – a partnership between the governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

In Central Province, the Provincial Health Authority (PHA), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Child Fund and Susu Mama PNG with technical support from WHO and UNICEF have collaborated to strengthen health systems and improve routine immunisation coverage through clinics and mobile outreach patrols.

American Samoa won't host Polynesian Leaders Group

American Samoa was to host the inter-governmental meeting involving eight Polynesian members in April.

Originally the territory was to host the event in July 2019 but Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga asked Tuvalu, which hosted the Pacific Forum meeting, to host the PLG alongside the forum.

Lolo had said the territory would step up and host the meeting in January 2020 instead.

However, because of the Samoan measles epidemic, the governor then postponed the meeting until April.

Great exposure for PNG’s medical team

PNG’s 13-member emergency medical team supported the mass vaccination campaign upon the Samoan government’s invitation.

The team, comprising of 11 nurses, 1 medical officer and 1 logistics officer, were all smiles when they arrived in Port Moresby on Monday 20th February.

For some nurses, it was their first time to respond to such a call out under the direction of the PNG health department. They said they were able to help the local health teams and treat as many people as possible despite some challenging situations.

Measles vaccines for NIP

New Ireland Province received measles vaccines after 13 suspected cases were detected, where one of them was tested positive.

A 23-year-old detainee from the Kavieng Correctional Institute was tested positive due to the incomplete dosage of the vaccine in his early childhood.


Govt backed in measles response

The WHO and UNICEF have provided a normative guidance and technical assistance to the National Department of Health (NDoH) and have been working alongside their government counterparts throughout the holiday season.

WHO representative, Dr Anup Gurung, congratulated the Health Department for its prompt response to the two measles cases.