Minister Maru pushes for National Immunisation Plan

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By Jack Lapauve Jr – EMTV News, Port Moresby

National Planning Minister, Richard Maru, says there is an urgent need for the country to have a National Immunisation Plan covering all diseases that citizens can be immunised against.

He has written to Health Minister, Sir Puka Temu, requesting the National Health Department to immediately complete a four-year plan this year.

He said this was essential to meet the national target of achieving an 80 per cent immunisation coverage by December 2022.  Currently the national coverage is at 40 percent from 2018 as the base-year.

Minister Maru says the re-emergence of polio is a clear evidence of total failure to focus on immunisation as a key disease prevention strategy.

He said over the years, successive governments have lacked the leadership and focus on this priority area and this serious issue cannot remain unattended to. As a responsible government, the O’Neill-Abel Government must take strong and decisive action now.

“We need a four-year national plan, with full costing which we can share with provinces and districts to sign up to include co-funding assistance under DSIP,” Minister Maru said.