City of Koronadal, South Cotabato – During its meeting on February 13, 2020 in Koronadal City,  the Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) XII passed Resolution No. 04 series of 2020,  enjoining the local government units in SOCCSKSARGEN to support the 3rd and 4th rounds of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio.   The polio vaccination activity aims to address the re-emergence of poliomyelitis in the country.   Polio is a communicable disease that can cause acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), difficulty of breathing, and, even death.

Another round of Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio for bi-valent OPV is set on February 17 to March 2, 2020 (3rd round) and March 23 to April 4, 2020 (4th round).   It is hoped that all under-5 children will be reached by the said immunization program.

In the January 20 to February 2, 2020 Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio or the monovalent oral polio vaccine (MOPV) immunization, Region XII recorded an accomplishment of 97.37 percent, which surpassed the target of 95%, by 2.37% percentage points. General Santos City and Sarangani Province registered a remarkably high percentage of 104.72% and 102.67% accomplishment, respectively.   Only Cotabato Province fell short of the target at 91.88 percent. This was attributed to the out migration of some of the population due to the recent earthquake and the transfer of 63 barangays to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Benchmarking on the above accomplishment or even surpassing its target, SOCCSKSARGEN hopes to reach 100% of the target population.  With this vision in mind, the Committee requested the support of the local chief executives to include manpower and funding support for the mobilization of health personnel.

Strengthening polio awareness campaign is likewise requested from DOH XII and other health personnel as they conduct house-to-house and check-point vaccination.  The information campaign includes the correct doses a child must receive, its safety and effectiveness, among others.

The Philippines was certified a polio-free country since May 1993 but the disease re-emerged in September 2019.  The country recorded a total of 22 cases from September 2019 to January 2020.  Of the total cases, 16 are acute flaccid paralysis or loss of muscle tone and ability to move the affected limb or part of the body with “floppy” appearance, five polio confirmed healthy cases, and one AFP through contact sampling.

Polio is transmitted through feco-oral route and the environmental source of infection includes contaminated water and food,  mosquito flies,  and, overcrowding and poor sanitation.   This is the Shout-out of DOH on polio:  We must move as a country to curb the Polio Epidemic together!
(Evie Arabis Cabulanan, NEDA XII-DRD)