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Eradicating polio in PNG



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MEDIA RELEASE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANDREW THOMSON

AA 18 6 May 1997

ERADICATING POLIO IN PNG

I am proud to have today approved funding of $1.8 million in support of a national immunisation program aimed at removing polio and other preventable diseases from our near neighbour Papua New Guinea.

This ambitious plan, to be conducted in September and October of this year, will see at least 680,000 PNG children vaccinated over two five day periods.

The National Immunisation Days (NEDS), co-ordinated by the World Health Organisation, rely on funding from a number o f donor countries, with Australia contributing about $1.8 million o f the $2.8 million program aimed at curbing polio, measels and neonatal tetanus.

As part of the PNG’s Year O f Immunisation, the program will target children in every province with expected coverage levels o f between 70 to 80 percent.

Under Papua New Guinea’s National Health Plan (NHP) regular immunisation patrols, supported by AusAED are conducted and this comprehensive program aims to supplement the practice by immunising as many children as possible in a short period o f time.

The value to Australia of this sort of aid project - eradicating infectious diseases on our doorstep - illustrates the lunacy o f those who call for the abolition o f the aid program. One has to ask o f the One Nation Party: why would Australia not want to spend — money eliminating polio and other diseases on our northern border?

Media contacts: David Alexander (Mr Thomson’s Office) (06) 277 4665 (w) Mobile (0412) 146181 Mark Giffard (AusAID) (06) 206 4968

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY