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Papua New Guinea

High risk of polio infection

BY GRACE AUKA SALMANG

PEOPLE living in settlements and villages in the nation’s capital where hygiene, water and sanitation are issues are most at risk with the spread of polio.

“In parts of the world and PNG is no exception where there is poor sanitation and untreated sewage that comes into contact with foods or drinking water can spread polio.

“Indeed we have plans that we are implementing now, mainly sensitising people about the need to ensure children wash their hands before and after eating, and also ensure that food is prepared properly,” Dr Bieb said.

He said they plan to work together with partners to ensure that such issues are addressed particularly in those settlements, slums, and fringes of urban areas in the city and other provinces.

“It does not matter how many times your child has received the polio vaccine since birth, even if she or he has had three doses as per the national immunisation campaign guidelines, you must still bring them to get the multiple doses of vaccine during this emergency response that is currently under way,” he said.

Dr Bieb said that an outbreak response plan had been developed and included four sub-national and national vaccination rounds as well as enhanced surveillance activities.

The total estimated budget for the plan is US$15.4 million, against which the government had committed about US$2.2 million (K6.6m), releasing K2 million for the first and second rounds of immunisation.

Financial support for the outbreak response includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Canada and South Korea.

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