Via ReliefWeb, a report from the Government of Papua New Guinea, WHO, UNICEF, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative: Papua New Guinea vaccinates almost 300,000 on first round of polio campaign. Excerpt:
9 AUGUST 2018, PORT MORESBY - Almost 300 000 children under the age of 5 in Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands Provinces were vaccinated in the first round of the polio campaign in Papua New Guinea.
This is the first of four rounds of supplementary immunization activities in response to the current outbreak of poliovirus in Papua New Guinea after 18 years of being polio-free. The first round was held from 16 July to 3 August and additional rounds are planned in late August, September and October.
“I am very pleased that we have been able to protect almost 300 000 children from polio,” said Sir Dr Puka Temu, Minister for Health & HIV/AIDS of Papua New Guinea. “There was a high turnout in areas where there are significant numbers of mobile populations, which suggests that parents from other provinces brought their children for vaccination.”
To date, 299 683 children have been vaccinated, of which 126 312 were in Morobe; 94 890 in Eastern Highlands; and 78 481 in Madang. “In some hard-to-reach districts, mop up activities still continue”, according to Pascoe Kase, Secretary of the National Department of Health. “We have teams on the ground who go back to the communities and double checking to ensure that no child was missed.”
“The result of the first round of the campaign is a testament to the dedication of the more than 2900 outbreak responders, health workers, community volunteers and local authorities who were mobilized for the campaign,” said Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO Representative in Papua New Guinea. “I know many of you worked long hours, crossed rivers, navigated mountains and flew in choppers to reach every child and protect them from polio, and I thank you for that commitment.”
In support of the Government, WHO has established four emergency operations centres to manage day-to-day response operations and deployed 17 international experts on outbreak management, epidemiology, surveillance, immunization, data management, risk communication, logistics, administration, finance and coordination.
To ensure every possible case of polio is detected, WHO trained more than 200 Government staff on enhanced surveillance, especially in high-risk provinces of Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Madang, Morobe, Western Highlands and the National Capital District. The surveillance officers detect suspected cases, conduct investigation and collect samples for laboratory testing. To date, 55 suspected cases are being investigated.