DOH seeks LGU, AFP help for 3rd round of Mindanao polio vaccination

CITING difficulties faced by their personnel in the two previous rounds, the Department of Health (DOH) is looking to tap local government units (LGUs) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to assist in the third round of the Synchronized Oral Polio Vaccination campaign in Mindanao later this month.

In an interview, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said they would need the help of LGUs and the AFP if they are to continue the success of the previous rounds of their anti-polio campaign.

"There are areas in Mindanao, where we faced difficulties due to them being far flung and isolated, while there are those with peace and order problems," said Domingo.

"We may need to ask for the help of LGUs and uniformed personnel of the AFP so we can reach those areas. We need them for access and security of our vaccinators in conflict areas," he furthered.

Domingo said they do not have any problems with regards to the determination of their personnel to push through with the campaign despite facing challenges.

"We don't see any problem. The dedication of our health workers are unwavering. Because they understand the importance of us being able to cover 95 percent of the population in order to wipe out polio," he said.

"As we can see, there were earthquakes in Mindanao, there are peace and order problems, but they just go on with their mandate to vaccinate," added the health official.

Domingo said the third round of the synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign in Mindanao is set to commence by the second week of January and will run for two weeks.

It was back in October 2019 when the DOH held the first round of vaccination in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City.

In November 2019, the DOH held the second round of the campaign and covered the entire Mindanao island.

Last year, the DOH recorded a total of eight confirmed cases of polio in the country, of which seven are from Mindanao, while the other one is from Laguna.

Prior to it, the Philippines has been certified as polio-free since 2000. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)