MEASLES VACCINE RUNS OUT IN MT. HAGEN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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By James Apa Gumuno

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 29, 2002 – The National)---Measles vaccine has run out at the Mt. Hagen Public Hospital in Western Highlands province.

Mothers who took their children to the hospital on Friday for measles vaccinations had to be turned away, according to staff at the hospital.

Nursing sisters told mothers at the Mother and Child clinic that there was no more measles vaccines left.

A nurse, who did not want to be named, said the large number of children visiting the hospital daily had caused the measles vaccines to run out.

She said although they were not sure when new supplies would arrive, they told the disappointed mothers to take in their children this week.

Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Kintwa said since the measles outbreak, which has claimed at least 40 lives so far, they had discovered that many children in the province were not vaccinated after they were born.

Dr. Kintwa said many parents did not take their children to the clinic when they were supposed to receive the vaccines.

Children who are not vaccinated against measles are most vulnerable to the virus during an outbreak.

Meanwhile, two more children died from measles at the hospital on Saturday, bringing the death toll since January to 41.

More than 100 children attacked by the virus are currently admitted at the hospital.

Dr. Kintwa said the hospital's critical drug shortage problem still has not been resolved.

He also said he did not know when the six containers of medical drugs still held at the Lae wharf would be released.

The Health Department is supposed to pay for the release of the drugs.

The supplying of drugs to public hospitals in the country is a function of the national government.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

 

PNG HEALTH SECRETARY DR. MANN CONFIRMS DRUGS PURCHASED BY AUSTRALIA

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 30, 2002 – Post-Courier)---Drugs and other medical supplies have been bought by the Australian government for the Port Moresby and Mt. Hagen general hospitals.

Secretary for Health Dr. Nicholas Mann said yesterday that AusAID spent K 3 million (US$ 826,200) last week and bought supplies from pharmacies in Port Moresby.

Dr. Mann made the announcement after senior doctors at Port Moresby General Hospital released a statement saying the hospital was facing a critical shortage of drugs and other supplies.

The statement on Friday said the doctors were informed that agencies were making arrangements to get the hospital supplies, but until these supplies arrived the public had to exercise care and patience. Dr Mann said, however, the vaccines for measles as well as some drugs bought by AusAID last week were airlifted to Mt. Hagen hospital last Thursday, while the rest of the drugs including IV fluids which were heavy, were shipped to Lae to be delivered by road.

"The supplies are getting there,’’ he said.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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