National Capital District of PNG starts polio vaccination on 24 September

More than 170,000 children up to 15 years old to be immunized

20 September 2018
A newborn child being administered polio vaccine.
A newborn child being administered polio vaccine.

Port Moresby, 20 September 2018 – The National Capital District will start polio vaccination from 24 September to 8 October 2018 – a week ahead of the nationwide campaign on 1 October. Teams of polio workers will vaccinate 170,195 children up to 15 years old during the two-week period.

Port Moresby has reported its first case of polio on 6 September in a 6-year old boy from 5-Mile Settlement. Following the confirmation of this case, 5,097 children in the affected community have received polio vaccine in the past week as part of the emergency response measures.

“Our city is in the middle of the polio outbreak,” said Dr Morimai Ipai, Coordinator of the Polio Emergency Operations Center for NCD. “Our immediate measure is to vaccinate children in health centers, in schools, markets, bus stops and many other fixed sites. In some areas, our polio workers will come to your settlements and schools to ensure we reach all children up to 15 years old. I urge parents to bring your children for vaccination, irrespective of previous immunization status.”

The Government of Papua New Guinea declared a Public Health Emergency on 26 June 2018 after confirmation that poliovirus is circulating in the country. Two rounds of the polio vaccination campaign have been conducted; the first round in July targeted children under 5 years old in three provinces (Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands); the second round in August covered 9 provinces (Morobe, Madang, Eastern Highlands, Enga, Chimbu, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands, Jiwaka and Hela).

“As polio workers come to your communities, I am also calling on the law enforcement and the public to do your role in ensuring the safety and security of these health workers,” added Dr Ipai. “Protect your health workers so they can also better protect your children from polio and that no further children are paralysed.”

The polio vaccination campaign in Papua New Guinea is now expanded to cover all children up to 15 years old all over the country. The nationwide polio campaign is from 1 – 14 October 2018. Increasing the coverage will protect more children from polio, and stop the transmission of the virus.

Parents and caregivers are urged to bring their children up to 15 years old to be vaccinated each time there is a campaign in their local area and to also help spread the word to others in the community. The vaccine is safe, effective and free.

The schedule of the succeeding rounds of the campaign are as follows:

Campaign Round: 3

Coverage: National Capital District and nationwide

Dates: 1 - 14 October

Campaign Round: 4

Coverage: National Capital District  and nationwide

Dates: 22 October – 04 November

The polio vaccination campaign in NCD has received high level leadership support from Governor Powes Parkop and the Members of the Parliament from the 3 Districts of NCD. Strategic support is also provided by the Acting NCD Health Services Provincial Health Advisor Dr Jerry Tanumei.

With technical and financial support from the World Health Organization (WHO), a Polio Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been established in NCD to serve as the hub to manage the day-to day operations for the outbreak response. Enhanced surveillance system to detect suspected polio cases is also in place. To equip polio workers on the campaign, social mobilization training was conducted by NDOH, with support from National Department of Health, UNICEF and WHO. Local partners such as the Red Cross of PNG, World Vision, Child Fund, FH International and others are also providing support to NCD.

The polio immunization campaign is organized by the National Department of Health and the National Capital District Health Services, with support from WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Key Information About Polio:

 Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age.

 Children under 5 years of age are at risk of contracting the virus.

 Polio is a dangerous disease that has no treatment. 1 in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis.

 Polio is spread from person to person by contact with the stool of infected people. Good sanitation and hygiene is key.

 Children can be protected from polio only with vaccination.

 Bring children up to 15 years of age to the nearest health center 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 immunization status.

 The vaccine is safe, effective and free.

Media contacts

Noreen Chambers
Communication Specialist
Tel: +675 321 3000


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