THE Department of Health (DOH)-Northern Mindanao is hoping that the positive results of its mass immunization campaign will strengthen the routine immunization in the region.
Dr. Ian Christian Gonzales, DOH Infectious Diseases Cluster head, said the mass immunization campaign is not sustainable for keeping the region, and the country, polio free.
"Kay kung dili anto i-strengthen ang routine, kanang mga bag-ong panganak nga pabakunahan gyud nila ang ilang mga babies, maka outbreak gyapon ta puhon in the future. Dili sya sustainable kung magsalig lang ta sa mass immunization," Gonzales said.
He said the mass immunization entails a lot of resources, particularly manpower, as health workers, instead of being stationed in health centers and hospitals, will be busy going door-to-door to the communities and far-flung areas.
Gonzales said that in 2016 to 2018, there was a decline in the routine immunization.
"Pasabot mas daghang mga mothers nga dili na moadto sa centers para bakunahan ang ilang mga anak. So mao na nagka outbreak ta balik og measles and polio," he said.
Gonzales said there is a need to strengthen again the routine immunization, which means all parents should have their newly-born babies scheduled for vaccination not just for polio but also other diseases.
At present, there are eight confirmed polio cases in the Philippines, seven of which are from Mindanao. However, Gonzales assured that the said confirmed cases are not in Northern Mindanao.
The first round of DOH's mass vaccination is supposed to run from November 25 to December 7, but the central office has extended the deadline to December 13 to hit the 95 percent target.
For Northern Mindanao, the target number of vaccinated children is 584,000.
The DOH-Northern Mindanao has already vaccinated 551,000 children, or 94 percent of the total target population, during the first round of its mass immunization campaign in the region.
"Kung abton nato gyud ang 100 percent, naa pa tay mga 30,000 children na dapat mabakunahan for the whole region," Gonzales said.
For Cagayan de Oro City only, the DOH has already reached 98 percent of its polio immunization target.