Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ilocos Norte health workers intensify drive to meet vaccination target

Mass immunization in Nueva Era.
By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff Reporter

Laoag City—Barely a week before the September 30 deadline for supplementary immunization drive against measles-rubella and oral polio vaccine, Ilocos Norte health workers have intensified their campaign to ensure that no Ilocano children aged 5 years and below will be left behind and avail of free vaccination.

Since the September 2 launching of the campaign dubbed “Ligtas sa Tigdas. Makiisa. Magpabakuna,” Dr. Artemio Gambalan, acting provincial health officer of Ilocos Norte said the province had the lowest performance in terms of achieving its target of at least 95 percent immunization coverage.

According to Mr. Gambalan, some of the factors identified in view of the low turn-out of immunization in Ilocos Norte was due to poor health education and religious beliefs.

He underscored however that Ilocos Norte will exert more efforts in catching up targets for measles-rubella and oral polio vaccine.

This September, the Department of Health encourages local officials and various stakeholders to take part in the said activity.

In a press conference held at the Laoag City auditorium, Dr. Myrna Cabotaje of the DOH Regional Office said measles cases started to increase in the late part of 2013 up to present.

Surveillance data shows that majority of the cases are under five years of age. Large portion of these children were not vaccinated, which implies that they have missed both the 2011 measles rubella immunization campaign and two doses of measles—containing vaccines given during the routine immunization schedule at health centers and barangay health stations.

In Region 1, the DOH aims to reach out to 574, 183 for measles-rubella (MR) immunization and 674,041 for oral polio vaccine (OPV).

So far, the health department has accomplished at least 65.75% for MR and 63.16% for OPV.

While enjoining all concerned stakeholders to support the campaign and bring in eligible children to the nearest health centers and vaccination post, Dr. Wilma Silva of the DOH stressed, “Vaccine won’t save live but vaccination saves lives.”

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