THE Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao targets 500,000 children across the region to get the oral polio vaccination (OPV) as it continues to step up its campaign against the life-threatening disease.
Dr. Ian Christian Gonzales, DOH Infectious Diseases Cluster head, said the 500,000 kids target or a 95-percent target vaccine coverage rate will allow a community to develop herd immunity and control the spread of the disease.
The simultaneous massive immunization program dubbed as “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” will run from November 25 to December 7.
Meanwhile, Gonzales said the region has no confirmed cases of polio for now. However, they have intensified their surveillance in the region.
He said they are continuously checking all hospitals of reported acute flaccid paralysis or the sudden onset of paralysis or weakness in any part of the body of a child less than 15 years old.
Gonzales said the health department also hired five more surveillance officers and public health associates deployed in each municipality.
The DOH-Northern Mindanao is re-training doctors and nurses to update their knowledge on the disease.
“I think maabot ang atong (we can reach the) target because naa nay (there is) awareness ang public on the importance of vaccines. The people’s confidence on vaccines nibalik na (returned). In fact, in Manila, na-achieve na ang 95% target,” Gonzales said.
The region also has enough vaccines, Gonzales said.
“We really have to get our children immunized kay once ang bata naa nay acute flaccid paralysis, it is permanent na although maka-regain ug function through rehabilitation but not 100%. So it’s better to practice prevention,” he added.