January 29, 2023

The Department of Health-Cordillera has asked parents and guardians to subject their children to the month-long measles and polio vaccination that will start on Oct. 26.

DOH-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said the agency will roll out the mass vaccination, set to arrest an outbreak in measles next year as projected by the World Health Organization.

“We want to be proactive and prevent an outbreak in measles and polio,” Constantino said.

The vaccination, which is set from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25, will be done in fixed sites in the communities in coordination with a pool of vaccinators that include barangay health workers.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 26, the DOH-Cordillera recorded 395 measles cases in the region with no death. This year’s number of cases is 62 percent lower than the 1,059 cases that were recorded in the same period last year. Five deaths were recorded in the same period last year.

Constantino said parents and other stakeholders should not be complacent even if cases were on the downtrend, adding that with the regular immunizations conducted, there should no longer be cases recorded, much more a projection of an outbreak.

“The WHO projection that there will be an outbreak in measles cases next year indicates there are still a lot ‘missed’ children in vaccination, which is why we are having the (month-long) measles-rubella and polio immunization,” she said.

The measles-rubella immunization is for children aged six to 59 months while the polio vaccine is for babies aged zero to 59 months.

The DOH-Cordillera targets to reach 182,036 children for measles-rubella immunization and 155,721 babies polio vaccination.

The Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000, but the government declared an outbreak in September last year after two cases were recorded in the same month.

In Baguio City, Mayor Benjamin Magalong has issued an executive order declaring Oct. 24 as End Polio Day in the city, in support to the observance of such by the Rotary Club International.

The Rotary Club of Baguio will observe the World Polio Day on Oct. 24 and as part of the observance, vehicles with posters “End Polio Now” will roam the city as part of the initiative to raise public awareness about the vaccine-preventable disease and to raise funds to help eradicate polio.

“There is a need for the city government to participate in the initiative undertaken by Rotary Club International to gain ground in the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio for a healthier society,” Magalong said in EO 144 s. 2020. – Jane B. Cadalig