DOH advises polio vaccine for children to prevent incurable disease
By Myra Cel L. Espinosa
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Sep. 24 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) is urging parents to have their children vaccinated against polio, as two confirmed cases have already been reported in the Philippines this year.
DOH IX confirmed that there are no Polio cases in the region, but they conduct continuous immunization in all health centers and hospitals. In the previous year, only 71% of the target population was immunized in Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen). DOH IX Regional Director, Dr. Emilia Monicimpo said, the DOH is targeting 95% coverage of immunization, but last year this was not achieved, accordingly due to information dissemination gaps and also due to the lack of access to health facilities.
There is regular monitoring in the provinces to prevent re-emergence of Polio in the region, Dr. Monicimpo said. “We are encouraging the parents and local government units to report kids experiencing muscle weakness or paralysis with the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU),” Dr. Monicimpo added.
Moreover, upon the reports submitted with patients experiencing Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) specifically children below 15 years old, RESU will immediately test the specimen to confirm the patients’ condition.
Dr. Monicimpo encourages LGU to intensify the routine immunization with enough doses of polio vaccines to all children. She also emphasized to educate the parents that the vaccines are safe and readily available in all health centers. DOH affirms that there are enough vaccines for the target coverage this year.
Record shows that as of September this year there are 15 cases of AFP recorded in different provinces in the region. 5 of the patients tested negative for Polio, 3 patients are non-Polio diseases while the rest of the 7 patients are still waiting for the test results.
Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by Poliovirus that can be transmitted through oral-fecal route and can manifest as sudden onset of muscular weakness or paralysis, difficulty breathing and may cause deaths among affected population.
There is no cure for Polio but it can be prevented with three doses of Oral Polio Vaccine and One dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine. DOH assures that Polio vaccines have long been used in the Philippines and are proven safe and effective. Dr. Monicimpo is calling on residents to bring their children to health centers for the immunization and maintain a sanitized surrounding to prevent Poliovirus. (NBE/MLE/PIA9-Zamboanga City)