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Papua New Guinea

Education, health divisions to roll out polio vaccination

BY NATALIE CHOLOHEI

THE Morobe Province education and health divisions will be working together to carry out the third round of oral polio vaccination.

This is to ensure that all school children under the age of 15 are vaccinated in the third and fourth rounds as per the directives from the Department of Health and World Health Organisation.

Provincial education adviser Keith Jiram said the division is working in close partnership with the health division to provide necessary support on school database to ensure students are vaccinated.

“We are supporting the health division to make sure every child in schools are immunised and all head teachers and teachers have been told to inform and educate parents about the effects of polio to get their children into vaccination to protect them,” Mr Jiram said.

He said enrolment figures for schools in Lae district were given to the health division last week to work out the vaccination coverage.

Micah Yawing, provincial emergency operations response coordinator, said the health division has started collecting data of schools in Lae and Huon Gulf districts and will be getting from the other districts in the coming days before the round three polio campaign
begins.

He said the need to strengthen work relationship with the education division was due to the fact that schools have a large population that can easily create awareness for the community in terms of information dissemination.

“Our partnership with the education division is to see that we acquire accurate enrolment figures for students from 15 years and below so that we can plan for the vaccination campaign coming up,” Mr Yawing said.

He said the data collected will be used to work out the number of vaccines that will be needed to cover all the schools in the province.

It is estimated that Morobe has a population of more than 197,000 of six to 15-year- old children that include children both in and out of schools.

The recent confirmed case of a nine-year-old in Enga Province has prompted health workers to increase efforts to protect all 15 infants; and according to health workers, this has doubled the number of target groups; and posing challenges on staff with limited vaccines and not enough funding to carry out the round three program.

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