In 2019, there were 554 cases of paralytic polio globally. In 2020, that figure more than doubled to 1,216.
On 21 June 2018 it was confirmed that poliovirus is circulating once more in Papua New Guinea after 18 years polio-free. As polio is a highly infectious disease which transmits rapidly, there is a potential for the outbreak to spread to other children across the country, or even into neighbouring countries, unless swift action is taken.

Organizers of the outbreak response are calling for the full support of all sectors of society to ensure that every child is protected. Parents are being encouraged to bring their children to their health centre or vaccination posts to receive the vaccine, free of charge, during a series of immunization campaigns. Disease surveillance is also being strengthened to detect any further transmission of the disease.

The World Health Organization is working with the other partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to support the National Department of Health and the Provincial Health Authorities in controlling the outbreak.