Papua New Guinea
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Gulf launches immunization campaign

The Gulf Provincial Health Authority (GPHA) launched its Measles-Rubella (MR-bOPV) Vitamin A supplementary immunization activity (SIA) campaign over the weekend in Kerema, Gulf Province.

This comes at the back of a two-day refresher training of 26 healthcare workers from the 21 healthcare facilities in the province to build their capacity around the MR-bOPV Vitamin “A” SIA campaign.  

Gulf Province is the last province to launch its SIA campaign. Speaking to the healthcare workers at the launching, GPHA's acting chief executive officer, Dr. Alexander Maha acknowledged his hardworking team for ensuring the activity was finally launched and ready for implementation despite challenges. 

“We are the last province to kick off this campaign, but that doesn’t mean we are not going to do it, and we are not going to do it well. It has been a struggle for all of us, we’ve had our battles to get this activity organized”, Dr. Maha said. 

He said the average life expectancy is low, many infants die before they reach the age of five years.

“Most of these deaths are vaccine-preventable, and activities like this are to help save our children’s lives. There is still a more important job to do, and this is the Routine Immunization, we really need to work hard to improve this”, he said. 

Furthermore, Kerema Family Health Services coordinator, Sr Margaret Malaisa called on the national, provincial, district and village levels to work together harmoniously to achieve one goal and aim to “immunize our children”.  

“This campaign needs a collaborative approach from each and every one of us. The Key message here today is “We must not leave any child”, said Sr. Malaisa. 

She said the SIA campaign is a national activity and is being implemented because immunization coverage nationwide, including Gulf province is at an all-time low. 

The goal of this campaign is to immunize at least 95 percent of eligible children in the province against measles, rubella, and polio to increase immunity (Defence against illnesses). The target is to reach all children less than five years of age. That is 30,000 children in Gulf.

GPHA MR-SIA Team Leader, Sr. Mahu Boro sharing similar sentiments, urged all parents, politicians, faith-based organizations, NGOs, business houses, provincial government administration and public servants, and ward councillors, to work together with the PHA to ensure all children under 5 years in the province get immunized.

She thanked all hardworking health teams and partners in the Province from Santos, Rotary

Against Malaria, UNICEF, World Health Organization and the National Department of Health, GAVI Programme and for the continued support to Gulf PHA.