Kids aged 5-years and below to get free polio vaccination

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By Frances Mae Macapagat

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 30 (PIA) – About 259,000 children are targeted to avail the free polio vaccination initiated by the Department of Health (DOH) for its first round of vaccination from October 14 to 27, 2019 in the entire Davao City and Davao del Sur.

Regional director of DOH Davao Region Dr. Annabel Yumang announced in a press briefing held earlier today that the department is set to hold a door-to-door, fixed location, or even a mall-based vaccination for children aged 0 to 59 months regardless of immunization status.

“Even if they have already received polio vaccine before, they are still target to get vaccinated”, Yumang explained.

The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (Leaving No Child Behind) program of the DOH in Davao Region comes in three rounds. The first batch covers Davao City with 186, 859 children and Davao del Sur with 72,389 children. The second round is scheduled on November 25 to December 7 while the third batch is set on January 6 to 18, 2020. The last two rounds will already cover the rest of the target children in Davao Region.

DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Abdullah Dumama Jr. assured the public that there is enough vaccines to cater the target number of children.

“The DOH has allotted P7 million for the first round, and P103 million for each of the 2nd and 3rd round. This amount will be spent for the mobilization since the vaccines are given to us for free by the UNICEF”, he said.

The DOH stressed that polio is an infectious disease which spreads rapidly. It can cause paralysis, and on rare occasions, can be fatal. It can be spread when food or drink contaminated by feces with polio virus is ingested.

The department further explained that 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.

“These vaccines have long been used in the Philippines, proven safe and effective and are given for free in health centers,” Dumama added.

In the massive polio vaccination, the DOH works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, local government executive, and barangay officials who are expected to help disseminate and implement the vaccination program.

The DOH XI also asked the help of the media to help the department widen the reach of dissemination to cover all target children in Davao Region.

“Mothers are no longer scared on vaccination. They themselves asked where they can avail of these free vaccines to help prevent acquiring Polio virus.

In Davao City, where the water sample taken from the waterways in Davao City yielded positive for Polio virus, an ordinance calling for zero open defecation is set to be pushed this week by City Councilor Dr. Mary Joselle Villafuerte.

“This effort will require all houses to have toilets with septic tanks because we found out that there are still households that have toilets but wastes go straights to canal and the river. This is going to be a big challenge since this covers a big population in the urban settlers. But we will work with barangay captains to look for funds so they can build public toilets for now”, Villafuerte shared.

The DOH XI also reiterated to parents to ensure that drinking waters are clean and safe; and good hygiene is highly emphasized to protect their children from the polio virus. (PIA/Frances Mae Macapagat)