Polio alert for NCD

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THE National Capital District has been put on alert following its first confirmed case of polio – a six-year-old boy living at the 5-Mile settlement.
Health Secretary Pascoe Kase said it was very concerning.
“Every new case of polio isn’t just a statistic. Each represents a child that will be permanently paralysed,” he said.
World Health Organisation representative in PNG Dr Luo Dapeng said the confirmation of polio in an urban area “is worrisome”.
“WHO and partners are working to support the Government to search for all possible polio cases, rapidly scale up the response in Port Moresby with the emergency vaccination and embark on a nationwide vaccination in the succeeding rounds of the campaign.”
The Government had declared a public health emergency on June 26 after confirmation that the polio virus was circulating in the country.
There are now 10 confirmed polio cases in the country – three in Morobe, two in Eastern Highlands, two in Enga, two in Madang and one in the National Capital District.
The Health Department and partners will start an emergency polio vaccination campaign in NCD on Sept 24.
The department said the Port Moresby case was confirmed after laboratory tests were conducted at the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory, a WHO polio regional reference laboratory in Australia.
The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the NCD case was linked to the polio outbreak in the country.
The Health Department and WHO have sent experts to conduct surveillance and are working with partners to engage with communities on polio prevention and report suspected cases.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) representative David McLoughlin said they were working closely with “health promotion colleagues in implementing social mobilisation and community engagement activities.”

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