Sunday should be a day of celebration but the outbreak has brought anger at a lack of health funding while millions are spent on the Apec summit

At a waiting room in Port Moresby’s Gerehu general hospital red, gold and black balloons – the colours of the country’s flag – deck the walls in the build-up to independence day.

Around the back in the stifling heat, nurses are administering vaccine drops from cool boxes. About 30 adults and children are queuing under a canvas tent, awaiting their dose to protect against polio, a disease Donald Lippert, a Catholic bishop from the Southern Highlands, characterised as “a beast lurking in the darkness, ready to spring forth”.

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Read More ‘A lurking beast’: polio casts shadow over Papua New Guinea independence day

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