PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND INDONESIA AGREE ON CROSS BORDER MEASURES TO PREVENT SPREAD OF POLIO AND OTHER VACCINE-PREVENTABLE DISEASES

"“Indonesia is our strategic neighbor and the collaboration between our countries will enable us to jointly protect both our citizens from infectious diseases,” said Dr Sibauk Vivaldo Bieb, Acting Deputy Secretary and National Polio Response Coordinator of the National Department of Health of Papua New Guinea."

Representatives from Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Indonesia met on 13 September in Port Moresby to agree on cross border measures to prevent the spread of polio, measles, rubella and other vaccine-preventable diseases between two countries.

The cross border meeting aimed to enhance coordination and collaboration between countries and strengthen surveillance across the border through regular exchange of surveillance and immunization information.

“Indonesia is our strategic neighbor and the collaboration between our countries will enable us to jointly protect both our citizens from infectious diseases,” said Dr Sibauk Vivaldo Bieb, Acting Deputy Secretary and National Polio Response Coordinator of the National Department of Health of Papua New Guinea. “Working together ensures our public health measures are coordinated as per recommendations of the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005).”

Both countries agreed on specific actions that would be implemented in response to the ongoing polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea. This includes synchronizing vaccination campaigns, mapping of high risk areas and healthcare facilities for border crossing, establishment of polio vaccination posts at cross borders, enhancing disease surveillance and conducting joint investigations.

Three provinces share borders between the two countries: West Sepik and Western Province from the Papua New Guinea side and Papua Province from the Indonesia side.

Given the proximity of Papua Province of Indonesia to Papua New Guinea and in consideration of significant population movement between the two countries, Indonesia has initiated response measures since the confirmation of the polio outbreak in Papua New Guinea. These measures include conducting regular risk assessments, enhancing surveillance and including polio vaccine in its ongoing measles-rubella vaccination campaigns for children 0-5 years old.

“There is significant population movement between our countries and working together will help us detect diseases rapidly and implement response measures appropriately,” according to Dr Aloysius Giyal, Provincial Health Office of Jayapura, Indonesia. “Diseases do not respect borders so we have to work together for the mutual protection of our people.”

To synchronize with the nationwide polio campaign of Papua New Guinea, the five cross-border districts of Indonesia (Kota Jayapura/Bhatas, Keerom, Pegunungan Bintang, Boven Digul, Merauke/Sota) will also vaccinate children under 15 years old starting 1 October 2018. All government and private hospitals and clinics in all 29 districts of Papua Province of Indonesia will enhance reporting and sharing of information on acute flaccid paralysis.

The Indonesia representatives to the cross border meeting were Dr. Aloysius Giyai, Head of Papua Provincial Health office; Mr Robert Meison Saragih, Section Head of the Outbreak Response and Surveillance of the Ministry of Health; Dr Aaron Rumainum, Communicable Disease Control Manager of the Papua Provincial Health Office; Mr Hakimi, Immunization Unit of the Ministry of Health; and Surparto, Head of Quarantine, Papua Province.

The host country Papua New Guinea was represented by Dr Sibauk Vivaldo Bieb, Acting Deputy Secretary and National Polio Response Coordinator of the National Department of Health; Mr Alphonse Yalim, Chief Executive Officer of the Provincial Health Office of West Sepik; Dr Trevor Kalabi, Director of Public Health of the Provincial Health Office of West Sepik; and Mr Berry Ropa, Communicable Disease Control Manager of the NDOH.

Both parties also agreed to conduct the cross border meeting every three months starting December 2018.

The two regional offices of the World Health Organization (WHO) -- Southeast East Asia (where Indonesia belongs) and Western Pacific (where Papua New Guinea belongs) provided technical and logistical support in organizing the cross border meeting. Dr Salim Reza, Technical Officer of the WHO Papua New Guinea Country office facilitated the meeting.

VIA MEDIA RELEASE
September 18, 2018