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Anti-polio and measles drive in the Philippines

Ph gov’t launches nationwide anti-measles, Polio mass vaccination campaign

Anti-polio and measles drive in the Philippines
Anti-polio and measles drive in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government through President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday led the launch of the Ligtas sa Tigdas at Polio mass immunization campaign at the San Lazaro Compound in Manila, encouraging the public to participate in the program.

Some 11 million to 13 million people in the country are at risk from measles, polio and rubella (German measles), he said, asking the public to cooperate in eradicating the preventable diseases.

He said he is glad that the Department of Health (DOH) is carrying out the initiative aimed at preventing outbreaks.

“Ito na nga ho ay mga pagbabakuna para mailayo sa kapahamakang madudulot kung tatamaan ng polio o pati na ng measles, lalo na ang kanyang mga komplikasyon,” the President said in his speech.

“Ngayon, ang Department of Health po ay talagang nakagayak na at binigyan ng sapat na pondo para maipaitupad ‘yung hinahabol nga nating 95 percent na vaccination.”

The DOH will try its best to reach remote communities to carry out the vaccination program, he said, emphasizing the importance of coordinating with local government units throughout the country to ensure the program’s success.

He however called on parents to take it upon themselves to have their children vaccinated.

“Pakiusap po sa lahat, itong ‘Ligtas sa Tigdas’ na programa natin ay ating suportahan. Doon sa mga hindi pa nakakarinig nitong programang ito, makidamay na po tayong ipaalala sa kanila ang obligasyon natin sa kabataang ito,” he said.

The nationwide vaccination campaign, which targets 9- to 59-month old children, is a follow-up to the 2011 Measles Rubella Supplemental Immunization.

It aims to eliminate the threat of measles and rubella, protect communities against the poliovirus, and identify high-risk communities for routine immunization through the ‘Reaching Every Purok’ strategy.

The government’s goal is to vaccinate 95 percent of all children who are at risk of contracting these diseases.

Although there has been no reported case of polio in the country based on government monitoring, the DOH is implementing the anti-polio campaign in compliance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulation on polio as a public health emergency.

The campaign intends to maintain the county’s polio-free status.

The mass vaccination campaign started Monday (September 1) and will run until September 30, according to health officials. All health centers throughout the country will serve as vaccination posts.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.