77 people belonging to two provinces of Papua New Guinea have died due to a whooping cough epidemic. PNG Health Minister Sir Peter Barter, who is also the regions MP, confirmed that 17 children belonging to the Madang Province have died due to this outbreak.
The Madang provincial health office has swung into action and has put in place a response committee that can access the affected areas and render immunization to the infected people. An appeal has also been sent out to parents to seek immediate medical help for children with symptoms of whooping cough.
Sir Peter said: "In some parts of PNG our immunization coverage is dangerously low, since the closure of many aid posts, loss of staff in rural areas the situation is quite serious. I have directed the (health) secretary to examine ways in which we can take a more direct control of rural health services and to put an overall plan for a massive immunization program to take place as soon as possible."