BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
The Provincial Health Office (PHO)-Aklan is pushing for a month-long free supplemental measles and polio vaccination in Aklan this September.
The nationwide mass immunization of Measles Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine meant to protect all children aged zero to five, whether or not they have been vaccinated in the past. The free immunization program will start September 1 through 30 in barangay health centers and in vaccination posts.
Rural health workers, nurses, doctors and midwives target to immunize 66,107 children 9 months to five years old below for a dose of measles vaccines, which is 11.5 percent of Aklan’s population.
The campaigns also hoped to reach 77,604 children aged 0 to below 5 years old for drops of oral polio vaccine or 13.5 percent of Aklan’s population.
Provincial Health Officer I Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr. said the multi-vaccine campaign will give extra protection for the children against preventable viral illnesses.
“Every three years, the Department of Health (DoH) had supplemental measles immunization aside from the routine immunizations. But in spite of those campaigns, regions in the country have measles cases from November last year up to January this year,” he said.
In 2013, PHO-Aklan recorded 442 measles cases in Aklan. It launched an outbreak response immunization program for day care center and elementary pupils and high school students to contain the increasing number of measles cases in the province.
High number of measles cases was reported in the towns of Kalibo, Ibajay and Malay, including Boracay, the PHO-Aklan said.
From January to July, the province of Aklan has 83 suspected cases of measles, way below the number of cases last year.
PHO-Aklan said the immunization campaigns last year only reached 80 percent. To achieve the 95 percent coverage targets, mobile immunization teams from rural health units in the 17 towns of Aklan will also conduct door-to-door immunization strategy among children for measles-rubella and polio.
After the mass immunization, nurses in rural health units will carry out rapid coverage assessment in high-risk communities and far-flung barrios to determine those children who have yet to avail the supplemental and routine immunization programs.
The nationwide massive immunization drive is expected to immunize 11 million children for measles and 13 million children against polio, the Department of Health (DoH) said.