Poliomyelitis, known as polio for short, has been one of the most worrying childhood diseases in the history of mankind. The condition is notorious for trigger muscle weakness in the limbs – usually the legs – that could lead to them wasting away and becoming unable to movie, thus giving polio’s alternative name of “infantile paralysis.” It was not until the 1950s that an effective polio vaccine was developed, though the implementation of this and succeeding versions have led to the World Health Organization hoping for complete eradication of the disease. The target was supposed to be by last year, but polio has resurged anew in several nations worldwide, including the Philippines.
Cities and municipalities around the country have started taking measures to prevent any new spread of polio in their localities. GenSan is no exception, according to the Philippine News Agency, as it joins with the rest of Mindanao in a planned mass immunization campaign against the disease. This program, called “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio,” will take place in two stages both this and next year. About 75,545 babies and children under the age of 5 are expected to be covered by the mass vaccination drive.
According to a statement last week on November 13 by GenSan City Health Office (CHO) chief Dr. Rochelle Oco, no less than 199 vaccination teams will be mobilized throughout the city for the first stage of Sabayang Patak Contra Polio, which was scheduled by the Department of Health (DOH) for Mindanao from November 25 next week to December 7. The teams will perform polio immunization, with some of them moving house to house and door to door in all 26 barangays of GenSan, while others will set up vaccination booths in barangay health centers or other meeting places of the local communities, waiting for families.
While the exact number of members for each vaccination team has not been revealed, there is already a shortage of hands for this mass immunization campaign. Dr. Oco has announced that the CHO is still looking for 87 vaccinators – registered nurses and midwives as well as licensed doctors and medical technologists – in order to fill out the vaccination team rosters. In addition, all infants and children under age 5 must be immunized against during the program, whether they have already received an earlier vaccine or not.
Oco has assured that the vaccine batches are safe, and are free of charge. In addition, she is advising families participating in the immunization for their children, to report any vaccination teams who would charge for their service or ask for donations, to the CHO for proper action. The second phase of “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” will happen from January 6 to 18, 2019.
Image courtesy of MindaNews