Philippines: Re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases – Polio outbreak – Operation Update, DREF n° MDRPH032

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19 September 2019: The Department of Health (DOH) confirms the re-emergence of polio in the Philippines and declares a national polio outbreak.

28 September 2019: At the request of the PRC, the IFRC launches a DREF operation in response to polio outbreaks in the Philippines for an amount of CHF 336,302 to reach 30,000 children in the 0 to 59 age group through social mobilization, health promotion and oral vaccination against polio.

15 November 2019: As new cases continue to emerge, the polio emergency plan of action (EPoA) is revised and integrated as part of the revised emergency appeal MDRPH032 “Re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases” (previously known as “Philippines: Measles Operation”). This revised Emergency Appeal supports the Philippine Red Cross in its operations against measles and polio. Although each operation has its respective EPoA, they have been placed under a common appeal to benefit from operational synergies and to improve efficiency. Under Emergency Appeal MDRPH032, the polio response plan is scaled-up to an amount of CHF 1,990,056 to reach 1.2 million people over 16 months and now includes mid-term routine immunization enhancement and epidemic preparedness.

23 December 2019: Operations update no. 2 for the polio outbreak is published.

6 January 2020: The DOH announces the extension until April 2020 of the synchronized polio vaccination campaign “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio”.

16 March 2020: Philippines raises the COVID-19 alert system to code red sublevel 2 with consequent measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

18 March 20202: DOH suspends the Extended Vaccination Round until further notice, as the response to COVID-19 pandemic is prioritized.

On 18 March 2020, the DOH made the decision to suspend the Extended Vaccination Round which was scheduled to begin on 23 March 2020 until further notice. This campaign was being supported by PRC under the MDRPH032 Re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases appeal, which along with other activities related to strengthened routine immunization, epidemic preparedness, protection, gender and inclusion (PGI), water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and National Society development (NSD) have now been put on hold. The decision is informed by the prioritization by DOH, PRC and other partners of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. PRC will continue to monitor the situation in consultation with DOH and seek to recommence the implementation of these activities at the earliest possible time, to ensure that negative impacts of the disruption to targeted communities are minimized. The PRC has also entered into a partnership with UNICEF, under which they will receive funding.