The Bangsamoro government, through the Ministry of Health (MOH), led Monday, July 20, the kick off ceremony of the Department of Health’s (DOH) synchronized vaccination campaign against poliovirus, which targets over 800,000 children in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Dubbed as the “Sabayan Patak Kontra Polio,” the campaign runs from July 20 to August 20 and will be administered to at least 839,677 children in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan said it is time to bring back the halted pace of DOH-National Immunization program after it was suspended last March due to coronavirus disease pandemic.
“We are doing this campaign for the sake of our children in BARMM, we cannot allow them to be exposed to many health risks while facing health crisis,” Dipatuan said.
In his message, Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim urged the public to participate in the campaign.
“We assure that the region’s overall health care is protected and competent,” said Ebrahim who was represented by BARMM Assistant Executive Secretary Abdullah Cusain during the ceremony.
The DOH campaign aims to stop the poliovirus outbreak in the country by immunizing children against the virus.
Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease that affects the spinal cord causing muscle weakness and paralysis and can eventually lead to death. It is caused by the poliovirus that spreads from person to person. Though incurable, polio can be prevented through vaccination.
The Philippines declared a national polio outbreak on September 19 last year following the confirmation of a poliovirus case in a 3-year old girl from the province of Lanao del Sur – the first polio case since its eradication in the country 19 years ago.
The MOH assured that community-based public health practitioners assigned for the polio-vaccination will strictly observe health and safety measures during the entire conduct of the campaign.