This week, the Papua New Guinea National Department of Health, with support from WHO, UNICEF and other partners released a report on the key accomplishments and highlights from of the response operations to mark the 100 days since the Government of Papua New Guinea launched the Emergency Response to the Polio Outbreak.

Papua New Guinea Image/CDC
Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea confirmed a polio outbreak on 22 June 2018 when a vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1), first detected in a 6-year old boy from Morobe Province, was also isolated in two healthy children from the same community, indicating that the virus was circulating.

On the same day, Papua New Guinea notified the World Health Organization as per required under the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005). A public announcement was made on 25 June 2018.

On 26 June, a National Emergency was declared by the Government of Papua New Guinea. The National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Response was activated the day after.

Since the confirmation of the outbreak, two rounds of the polio vaccination campaign have been implemented to protect children under 5 years old against polio:

  • The first round covered the three high-risk provinces of Morobe, Madang and Eastern Highlands where 303,907 children under 5 years old were vaccinated.
  • The second round covered nine provinces of Morobe, Madang, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Southern Highlands, Jiwaka, Enga, Chimbu and Hela where 690,953 were vaccinated.

A total of 1.6 million doses of vaccines have been shipped to the country for use in the first two rounds of the vaccination.

A system was put in place to rapidly detect and identify cases of polio through enhanced surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). Since the confirmation of the outbreak, Papua New Guinea has reported 14 cases of polio: five in Eastern Highlands, three in Morobe, two in Enga, two in Madang, one in the National Capital District and one in Jiwaka.