Double blow

National

By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
STILL reeling from an outbreak of polio, Morobe has been struck by measles, with at least three cases confirmed in the province.
Provincial health programme adviser Micah Yawing told The National on Friday that the measles outbreak was likely to give health resources in Lae a severe jolt as officials and staff were still working to contain polio.
His deputy Jack Aita said there was one case of measles confirmed at Backroad in the Lae district and two at 14-Mile in the Huon Gulf district.
After a high number of deaths among children, PNG became largely free of measles until the end of 2013 when there was an outbreak, and sporadic cases followed.
“We sent samples to Port Moresby and they have confirmed all three cases,” Aita said of the latest outbreak.
“Last Wednesday, a team was sent in to the respective areas where the three cases were recorded.”
Aita said more than 300 children were immunised at 14-Mile, but the health workers were targeting a catchment that had a bigger population.
“For Backroad, a total of 154 children were immunised last week, and reports on the progress of immunisation will be provided this week,” Aita said. “Immunisation for measles is still ongoing at both 14-Mile and Backroad.”
Tent City Health Centre board chairman Robert Yonny said preventive measures were currently being undertaken in the Backroad area.
Aita called on mothers to take good care of their children and to take them to the nearest health facility for immunisation and checkups.
The Health Department said the polio outbreak was due to a lapse in the immunisation programme for a few years.
A similar situation is believed to have occurred for measles.

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