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.

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.

Nationwide vaccination campaign launched

This was supported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

The campaign aims to vaccinate more than 1.3 million children in the age group of 6 months to 5 years with measles and rubella (MR) vaccines, and then children from birth to 5 years with oral polio vaccine (OPV).

This exercise further demonstrates Papua New Guinea’s commitment to improve health and well-being of its children by protecting them against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Helpless parents watch as children suffer: WHO

At the National Launch of Round 3 of the Polio National Immunization Days, WHO Country Representative Dr Luo Dapeng laid out the facts as they were in terms of the polio response.

“As I speak to you today, 25 young boys and girls in nine provinces of Papua New Guinea are either in pain or having difficulty walking because of polio,” he said.

The World Health Organisation representative said many parents in remote areas feel helpless as they watch their children suffer from measles, pertussis and other diseases.

Ailing Kosipe population needs attention

This call comes from two health officers who walk the rugged terrains of Woitape to reach remote Kosipe and treat malaria patients there.

Mathew and Mary Kamo, a husband and wife team, mostly work on their own but the weather during the past few months has made traveling difficult in reaching and treating the sick.

Mathew said they have had to brave the tough weather conditions despite having limited medicines and manpower.

Health secretary’s polio update

Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said the rate at which polio has spread has quadrupled within the first four months since the first confirmed case of a 6-year-old boy in Morobe on 28th April, 2018.

“That means that we have 40 percent or 9 of the provinces in the country had recorded a case/s.

“The National Government has supported the polio campaign with K6 million and out of that, we have only received K2m.

3.2 million children vaccinated

The biggest polio vaccination campaign to be implemented in PNG mobilised more than 9,000 health workers and volunteers.

“As of 31 October 2018, we have immunised 3,112,035 children under 15 years old against polio, and this had been made possible through the hard work and dedication of our polio workers on the ground,” said the Secretary of the National Department of Health (NDOH), Pascoe Kase.

“I commend the leadership of the provincial health agencies and emergency operations coordinators for effectively launching and managing a very challenging response operations.”

Maprik aims to vaccinate 30,000 children

The district health office has teams working around the clock to reach the set target at the end of the week.

Vaccination campaign teams stationed at seven health facilities throughout Maprik district have reached at least half of the set target.

Health Manager Raymond Pohonai said health workers have so far reached at least half that number since the launch on October 1st; its biggest challenge is the vast geological terrain to reach most communities.