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ARIA in the region: Papua New Guinea

The Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) continues to work with the Australian Government’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security – based at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – to support COVID-19 and routine vaccine uptake in the Indo Pacific and Southeast Asia. 
Under this program, countries can request various types of immunisation-related technical assistance depending on their specific needs. 

Recently, ARIA member Dr Mikaela Seymour – a medical doctor with a passion for global health, low-resource, and rural and remote medicine – undertook a six-month deployment to the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea. This was made possible through the support of Associate Professor Angela-Kelly Hanku from the Kirby Global Health Program, a recipient of an ARIA grant. 

Mikaela has worked throughout the Pacific for the last eight years and has built experience in Papua New Guinea, where her work has supported the goals of the World Health Organization’s Essential Program on Immunisation. Much of her work has focused on health care in remote communities, where vaccination is critical. 

As part of her recent deployment, Mikaela was embedded within the Papua New Guinea Institute for Medical Research and the Eastern Highlands Public Health Authority to provide technical advice at the provincial level, supporting community engagement and other specialised areas as required. 

Mikaela’s expertise in remote health care also saw her assist in the general coordination of vaccine service delivery and provide technical and management support to key immunisation program staff members, groups and committees. 

In the wake of her deployment, Mikaela paid tribute to the hard work and commitment of the local healthcare workers, who, despite significant logistical challenges, work diligently to ensure that information about immunisation and preventive medicine are delivered to those in need. 


Dr Mikaela Seymour (right) working with Eastern Highlands communities
Dr. Mikaela Seymour (right) working with Eastern Highlands communities