Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Closing date: 18 Jul 2018
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Papua New Guinea achieved polio-free status in 1997 and certified in 2000. The last polio cases were reported in 1996 (n=4) in PNG. However, the country has been facing serious risk with very low routine immunization coverage that has been plateaued around 60 percent for more than a decade. The provinces and districts in the highlands region are specifically vulnerable to vaccine preventable disease outbreaks and already faced number of measles and pertussis outbreaks last year due to extremely low coverage (below 30%). PNG introduced IPV in 2017 and since then it has been available. On top of its complex operating context of inaccessibility, insecurity, inadequate cold chain network and outreach provisions, lack of vaccinators, the country is currently facing the challenges of earthquake emergency with huge backlog.
An Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) case was identified on 24 April in Morobe province in the highlands region and on 21 May a Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type-1 (VDPV-1) was isolated from the stool sample of the case. The AFP VDPV1 case is a 6-year old boy born in 2012 with a history of frequent travel. His family migrated from Eastern Highlands Province (EHP) in 2015 when the child was 3 years old and his last travel was during the 2017 Christmas. This province is 2nd largest in the country with high population density and mobility.
Full epidemiological, clinical and social investigations were done in the child’s village and in the neighboring villages. As per the global protocol, 25 stool samples were collected and sent to Melbourne laboratory for further analysis (5 immediate contacts and 20 from the community). In addition, active search for other AFP cases was done and a mop up activities were done for U5 children in those villages.
On 20 June, the polio Regional Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) in Melbourne reported the isolation of VDPV1 from two more stool specimens. These specimens are from two healthy children from Morobe province who are not direct contacts of the index case. These children are 3-year old boy and girl.
In view of establishing the evidence of circulation of VDPV-1, the government of PNG, with support from WHO and UNICEF immediately started to prepare the outbreak responses. There will be a total of 4 rounds of polio vaccination campaigns. The 1st three rounds in three provinces (Morobe, Madang and EHP) and 4th round in 4 provinces (Morobe, Madang, EHP and NCD).Â The first round will start on 16th July 2018 and end on 27th July 2018 followed by the next round after 2 weeks.
The Communication for Development (C4D) is among the critical components of the polio outbreak response. A communication and social mobilization outbreak response plan based on available social data that identifies community knowledge/ perceptions, attitudes, practices and social identifies related to immunization practices, particularly OPV needs to be in place. Provincial and Districts communication plans should identify the most critical messages and influencers for social mobilization and behavior change communication, development of IEC materials, training of frontline workers to deliver these messages through effective inter-personal communication, and engagement of community leaders and use of mass media. The plan should prioritize targeting high risk areas / populations and systematic reporting on social indicators. It will be also important to identify media focal persons and develop media strategy to disseminate key messages talking points and media briefings based on a KAPB study.
How can you make a difference?
The polio C4D consultant under the overall guidance of Chief CSD and day to day supervision of the Immunization Specialist and C4D Specialist will provide technical, management and coordination support to the National Department of Health (NDOH) Immunization Team and Provincial Health Authorities (PHA) to accelerate the planning and implementation of C4D interventions at the provincial and district levels. The C4D consultant will contribute to the development of a polio C4D plan for each of the three provinces underpinning the technical response, and providing technical inputs to the overall response strategy including the implementation of the operational work plans, provision of advice/support to PHA and DHA, and collaboration with WHO, Church Health and other partners.
The Polio C4D consultant will work closely with the National Department of Health (NDOH), Provincial Health Authority/Office (PHA/PHO), WHO, Media, Church Health Services, NGOs and other partners, to support the implementation of at least four high quality integrated polio immunization campaigns in three high risk provinces (Morobe, Madang and EHP), plus the NCD. Following are the specific tasks:
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Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.
How to apply:
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=514465
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