Anti-polio drive resumes in Mindanao

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    THE Department of Health will resume today, Monday, its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign in Mindanao, where 14 of the 16 confirmed cases of polio come from.

    DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said they are reaching out to Mindanaoans to address the ongoing polio outbreak in the region.

    “Our official count is 16 and most of the cases are from Mindanao. This is where we are concentrating for the moment,” said Domingo.

    Last week, the DOH reported two more polio cases in the country, including one in Quezon City, bringing the total number of cases to 16 since an outbreak was declared in September 2019. The Philippines was declared polio-free in 1999.

    The latest cases involved a 3-year-old boy from Quezon City and a 2-year-old boy from Sultan Kudarat. They were confirmed to have the polio virus by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).

    The synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign will run from January 20 to February 2 in all regions of Mindanao.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they intend to cover at least 95 percent of their target area to attain what he called as herd immunity.

    “The outbreak must be put to a halt. And we can only do this if all of the target population are reached and vaccinated during every round of immunization,” Duque said.

    He urged all parents and caregivers of children aged five and below to take part in the SPKP campaign in Mindanao.

    “Have your children vaccinated with oral polio vaccine by health workers and bakunators.

    Additional polio doses can provide additional protection to your children. There is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine,” said Duque.

    Last year, the DOH conducted two rounds of polio immunization in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City; and one round in the whole of Mindanao.

    Two additional rounds in the whole of Mindanao are also set on February 17 to March 1; and March 23 to April 4.

    For Metro Manila, two additional rounds of immunization are scheduled on January 27 to February 7; and March 9 to March 20.