Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, said there is an urgent need for the country to have a National Immunization Plan covering all diseases that can be immunised against.
Minister Maru has formally written to the Minister for Health & HIV/AIDS, Hon Sir Puka Temu, requesting the National Department of Health to immediately complete a four-year plan for launching and implementing from 31st March 2019 in addition to our ongoing public immunization work which has progressed very well to date.
He said this was essential to meet the national target of achieving an 80 percent immunization coverage by December 2022. Currently the national coverage is at 40 percent from 2018 as the base-year.
“The re-emergence of polio is the clear evidence of our total failure to focus on immunization as a key disease prevention strategy. This performance is unacceptable everywhere in the world today,” Minister Maru said.
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 4-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.
Minister Maru is certain of the support of development partners and donors to roll out this 4-year program which will aim to ensure that by the year 2022, up to 80%of our children are immunised, consistent with the global golden target.