Morobe armed and ready to declare war on polio


MOROBE is set to carry out its first round of supplementary immunisation for polio today.
The programme will start after a launching event, said Deputy provincial programme adviser for health and operations officer under the newly established response management system for polio outbreak response, Jack Aita.
“The launching of immunisation programmes at Government Compound in Lae will mark the beginning (of the programme),” Aita said.
“We have vaccines supply, cold-chain supplies and all other necessary materials and equipment being delivered to health centres that are accessible by road.
“Helicopters will drop off vaccines supply and ice packs to health facilities in remote areas inaccessible by road the same day after launching.
“These are facilities in Kabwum, parts of Finschhafen, Menyamya and Bulolo.”
Aita said all children under the age of five should be vaccinated.
“Even if children already took all three shots of their routine immunisation last year or early this year, or just last month, they must return to their nearest health facility to take it again.
“The vaccination programmes for some health facilities will start (today) but for most, they will start on Tuesday (tomorrow).”
Aita said the province had been given 95,000 oral polio vaccines.
“Every child under the age of five will be given two drops,” he said.
“This number of vaccines will be enough for the first and second round of immunisation.
“There will be a shortage, and we have been guaranteed by our partners that the next lot of vaccines will be supplied for the third and fourth round.
“From the first round of immunisation, we will know how many children to vaccinate so we can inform our partners for vaccines supply for the other rounds.
“But the immunisation will be ongoing.
“Teams will operate at the same site for all four rounds which will take place each month with the last round starting in October.”
Morobe Family Health Services programme and expanded programme on immunisation coordinator Patricia Gahanao said district health managers and facility officers were prepared to tackle the outbreak.
“With the help of the World Health Organisation (WHO), we have trained them to do population projections, work out what dose to give and how to calculate budgets, so they know how many children under the age of five to immunise,” she said.
She said the health workers were taught mainly on when, how and they were giving immunisation, especially to all children under the age of five and babies before reaching the age of one.

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