MORE than 400,000 children are expected to benefit from a K60 million immunisation programme implemented by the Government.
The Accelerated Immunisation and Health Systems Strengthening programme is to increase immunisation coverage from around 30 per cent to at least 80 per cent, preventing the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
It aims to accelerate immunisation providing a package of routine vaccinations to children under the age of one. It will be delivered in two phases over three years.
It is funded by the governments of Australia and New Zealand. Technical assistance is provided by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jelta Wong said immunising children was a priority of the Government and a new approach was needed to strengthen its delivery.
Wong said routine vaccinations were a safe and effective way to boost children’s immunity, protecting them from diseases.
“To reach our target of 80 per cent immunisation coverage in targeted provinces, we needed a collaborative and well-coordinated approach to deliver routine vaccinations to infants in the most remote and vulnerable areas of the country.
Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis said the programme exemplified Australia’s commitment to working with PNG in supporting human development, health security and economic growth.
Davis said Australia was providing around 40 per cent of the funding for the programme. New Zealand High Commissioner Phillip Taula said it was a challenging programme, and his government was committed to supporting health workers in providing good health outcomes.