Confirmed measles case in POM settlement

A 6-month-old baby living in a settlement in East Boroko in the nation’s capital has been confirmed with measles.

The baby was taken to the Port Moresby General Hospital where a sample was taken and tested over the weekend, which came back positive.

The NCDC health services have been alerted and are responding to that area.

National Department of Health surveillance and emergency program manager Berry Ropa said they have visited the area already on Monday.

“They’ve done awareness and the team was there to find more cases – if there are more – and secondly to vaccinate the children who are due for vaccination,” stated Ropa.

“And in the vaccination, they will also vaccinate children under 5 years who have missed out in the vaccination, in the immunisation.”

He said in NCD alone, they have received five samples within a period of 10 days, where all came back negative except for the six-month-old child.

“So that means that our surveillance system is working; we’re picking up suspected cases.”

Ropa outlined that for New Ireland Province, one case involving a detainee has been confirmed while four suspected cases that were reported and tested, turned out to be negative.

In response, health workers in New Ireland Province have vaccinated all inmates, adults and children, including Correctional Services officers and their families.

So far there were no other suspected cases being reported in New Ireland.

“So that means that it’s confined to one area and we have responded; our surveillance is continuing.”

In Gulf Province, there is still one confirmed case which health authorities have responded and will deploy the team to Kikori delta system where the case is being reported.

NDoH clarified that the delay was due to communication difficulties, staffing and lack of logistical support such as dinghies or fuels.

Public health executive manager, Dr Doani Eserom, said things are under control and urged public to not panic or be afraid. He encouraged parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated to prevent measles.

“We have a corporate memory and how to respond to epidemics and we are cautiously confident that we can attend to any outbreaks of measles currently. But most importantly, mothers and parents must make sure they bring their kids for immunisation.” 

NDOH revealed that 50 percent of children in PNG are not immunised, once again urging parents to take their children to the nearest health facilities.

(Article by Jim John – third year UPNG Journalism student; picture of NDOH’s Berry Ropa)

Jim John