HEALTH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III repeated his plea to parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to join the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities next month after the second case of polio was recorded in Laguna.
Vaccination, Duque said, is the only way to stop the spread of this debilitating, and sometimes fatal, disease.
To mitigate the risk, DOH-Metro Manila Center for Health Development will conduct three rounds of supplemental Oral Polio Immunization to ensure protection against polio among children under 5 years old beginning October 2019.
On Friday, Duque confirmed that a 5-year-old boy from Laguna, is the second case of polio after samples sent to the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases turned positive for the polio virus. The first was a three year-old girl from Lanao del Sur.
The latest confirmed case was reported to be from an immunocompromised child who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases. The boy experienced the onset of paralysis last August 25, 2019. He has been discharged from the hospital and is able to walk. He is closely being monitored for residual symptoms.
“We are also reiterating our advisory to the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, to use toilets, drink safe water, and to cook food thoroughly,” Duque said.
To heighten awareness on polio and vaccination campaign in light of the reemergence of poliomyelitis in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rotary International’s 10 Districts last week. Polio eradication is one of Rotary’s longest standing and most significant efforts.
The Rotary Districts will provide support through fundraising, advocacy and volunteer recruitment, as DOH intensifies its health promotion activities focusing on sanitation and hygiene, and prepares for a rapid response polio vaccination campaign.
In 2018, at least 12 of the 17 regions in the country were identified as high-risk areas for polio’s re-emergence.
The National Capital Region is one of those identified with a high risk of re-infection owing to: low polio vaccination coverage coupled with poor surveillance of polio symptoms, ongoing practice of open defecation and poor sanitary practices in communities. OPV coverage in the National Capital Region has been steadily decreasing from 77.25 percent in 2016 to 23.45 percent in the second quarter of 2019.