BY GLENDA SOLOGASTOA
ILOILO City –Three weeks into the mass immunization against measles, rubella and oral polio vaccine (MR-OPV), more than half of the target children has been vaccinated.
Data from the Department of Health (DOH) Region 6 showed that as of Sept. 19, 65 percent or 562,693 of the target 862,969 children were vaccinated against measles while 64 percent or 638,914 of the target 1,013,050 children received two drops of oral polio vaccine.
For MR, children aged nine months to below five years old are the target while for OPV, zero to five years old children.
“We are on track. We are positive that we can reach the target with more than one week left,” said Dr. Renilyn Reyes, DOH Region 6 medical specialist.
However, Reyes said, there is a need for the province of Aklan to double-time because it has the lowest turnout among the six provinces in the region – 51 percent for measles and 50 percent for polio.
“There are municipalities in Aklan that have low accomplishments because the vaccinating teams converged in one area only,” said Reyes.
Reyes said DOH recommended strategies for these municipalities to catch up with the target.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental posted the highest accomplishment – 70 percent for measles and 69 percent for OPV.
Other provinces in the region and their accomplishments:
- Guimaras – 67 percent for MR, 78 percent for OPV
- Iloilo City – 67 percent for MR, 66 percent for OPV
- Iloilo province – 63 percent for MR, 61 percent for OPV
- Capiz – 63 percent for MR and 60 percent for OPV
- Bacolod City – 62 percent for MR and 60 percent for OPV
- Antique – 60 percent for MR and 59 percent for OPV.
The nationwide mass immunization started on Sept. 1 and will end on the 30th of the month.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
In 2012, there were 122 000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour, said WHO.
On the other hand, poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children.
The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis, said WHO./PN