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Papua New Guinea

Polio response team plans for NCD coverage

BY GRACE AUKA SALMANG

A coordinated polio outbreak response operation has been put in place to have good vaccine coverage given that Port Moresby is hosting APEC in November.

Coordinator of the polio emergency operations centre for NCD, Dr Morimai Ipai said this and further adding that health workers should be mindful that they need to have good vaccine coverage given and there is no threat as the country prepares for the upcoming APEC meeting.

“We have made a response plan and micro plans on how to implement the mass vaccination campaign,” he said.

“A provincial polio emergency operations center has been established, with support from WHO, to manage the day-to day operations of the outbreak response.”

He said the social mobilisation training was done on September 19, with support from the Department of Health, UNICEF and WHO to equip polio workers on the campaign.

“We have also mobilised partners and volunteers to help us in various activities during the start of the polio vaccination campaign in NCD this week,’’ Ipai said.

“An enhanced surveillance system to detect suspected polio cases is also in place.

“Local partners such as the Red Cross of PNG, World Vision, Child Fund, Family Health International 360 and others are also providing support to NCD.”

In order to help the health workers carry out this campaign, Dr Ipai is appealing to parents and care givers to bring their children from birth to five years of age to get immunised.

“Polio mainly affects children under five years of age as they are at risk of contracting the virus,’’ he said.

“Polio is a dangerous disease that has no treatment and one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis,” he said.

Polio is spread from person to person by contact with the stool of infected people.

‘‘Good sanitation and hygiene is key.

“Bring children up to 15 years of age to the nearest health centre or vaccination point for polio drops and complete all doses to ensure full protection.

“Children will need to receive multiple doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV), irrespective of previous immunisation status.”

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