Sir Puka sets firm polio target

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HEALTH and HIV/AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu says 2019 is the year of immunisation and polio should be eradicated from Papua New Guinea once again.
Sir Puka during the launching of the Year of Immunisation yesterday said no child in Papua New Guinea or anywhere in the world should suffer from immunisable diseases such as polio.
He said immunisation was the most cost effective health intervention in any country around the world and through this declaration the immunisation programme profile will be raised.
The Government has allocated a total of K16.5 million in 2019 for the expanded programme on immunisation.
This funding is for the polio outbreak emergency response (K10 million) and routine vaccine procurement (K6.5 million).
He said Papua New Guinea routine immunisation coverage dropped over the years which resulted in polio outbreak after 18 years.
Sir Puka said therefore, it should be included in every planning programme in order to achieve above 80 per cent coverage this year going forward.
“All immunisable diseases are infectious and dangerous and if affected the child will either die or will be permanent paralysed but people must know that children can be prevented through vaccination.
“If there is polio outbreak anywhere in the world including the most developed countries, they will still use the same vaccine to immunise those children.
“We are privileged to have access to the vaccines and our development partners.
“Immunisation must be the subject of conversation in every household throughout the country.
Mothers and fathers must continue to ensure that their children are vaccinated.
“We have to agree to that no child in this country should suffer from an immunisable disease,” Sir Puka said.
“It is unacceptable in this day and age for a child in Papua New Guinea or anywhere else in the world to do so and there should never be an outbreak of immunisable diseases again.”
Sir Puka said nine provinces of the 22 were affected by polio and 26 of our children were confirmed and a strong surveillance has continued since the emergency was declared.
“Through our development partners and Government resources, 97 per cent coverage was achieved last year which is good,” he said.
The systems that are there are ready to pick up once we all work together, resource them well, ensure that health workers are motivated to do it and ensuring that the communities see value in what we are doing, he added.