A strong call has been made for parents and care-givers to ensure all children in their care have been immunized against childhood diseases.
This comes from a number of speakers at the launch of two new vaccines in Port Moresby on Wednesday this week, including the Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill and Health Minister Michael Malabag.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said children were the responsibility of their parents who must ensure children are immunized against measles and other childhood diseases, while Mr Malabag called on every parent to ensure their children were vaccinated. "Children’s health care the responsibility of the parents and care givers. I call on every parent and care-giver to ensure their children are vaccinated and must ensure they have completed their immunizations,’’ Mr Malabag said, adding also that health workers must ensure parents are informed well of the importance of vaccines.
"You must ensure you are giving correct information and why it is important. Take time to talk to the parents and care-givers; it is important,’’ he said. Mr Malabag also urged leaders at all levels – national, provincial, districts, village as well as non-government organisations and churches to ensure there were resources for immunization programs.
UNICEF country representative Baba Danbappa said the two vaccines – Measles-Rubella (MR) and Inactivated Polio Vaccines would complement and further strengthen the existing childhood immunization program and prevent disease and protect the children of PNG.
"These efforts aligned further bolster goals included in the 2011 – 2020 National Health Plan to raise immunization coverage levels to more than 90 per cent at both national and district levels,’’ he said.
"Immunisation activities such as these also aim to maintain Papua New Guinea’s polio-free status and add to efforts in the region towards eliminating measles.’’
He said while PNG was certified as polio-free in 2000, polio re-emergence in the country, however, remains a threat and was possible due to unimmunized or under - immunised children.
"Use of Oral Polio Vaccine has been an effective tool in reducing the global incidence of the disease by more than 99 per cent but new evidence now demonstrates that adding one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) to multiple doses of OPV is an even more effective means of stopping the virus and removing polio from the list of childhood diseases.’’ He also said new combined Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccine would be introduced "as part of the Special Integrated Routine EPI Strengthening activity (SREP Plus).