MEASLES has spread rapidly in the North Fly district of Western and an emergency task force team has been set up to bring it under control.
Task force team coordinator Godfrey Bunot, who is in charge of the North Fly District Family Health Services, said 42 people, mainly adults, had suffered from the sickness.
Bunot said the emergency team included medical personnel from the provincial government-run hospitals and clinics, Catholic Health Services of Kiunga – Daru Diocese, North Fly Health Services and the Evangelical Church of PNG.
“We are meeting here to come up with a programme on how to go about carrying vaccination programmes in the North Fly district.
“We are calling on the provincial government to come and help us cover all of the North Fly district,” he said
Bunot said their target was to immunise all children and adults within 15 days.
Sita Sika, a representative from the Catholic Health Services, said last year they had carried out two measles immunisation programmes from October to December and targeted children under six months old.
In June this year, children up to 18 years were immunised, but they faced funding problems to include the entire district in the programme.
“Now we are targeting and trying to immunise everyone from children to adults and cover the whole of the district, starting from the mountains to the lowlands,” Sika said.
She said they needed government funding.
“We are planning here to carry out a massive immunisation drive, starting from the Star Mountains, Olsobib local level government and into villages that can only be reached by small aircraft and helicopters,” she said.
Sika said the programme was likely to cost about K200,000.
“We are inviting the disaster office and National Health Authority to help look into the situation we are facing right now in the district.
“We do not know where we will get the money but we are inviting the government, and other national stakeholders to meet with us and help us,” she said.