KORONADAL City, March 31 (PIA) -- For 20 days starting Monday, April 4, health service providers in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region will knock on each house in almost all of the 1,200 barangays here to look for children 9 months to less than 8 years old in a massive measles-rubella immunization spearheaded by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD).
Dr. Fatima Emban, head of the Family Health Cluster of DOH-CHD 12, said, “our target for the measles –rubella immunization activity is to cover at least 800,000 children in the entire region.”
Unlike in the previous immunization activities, parents are not required to go to health centers, rather, health teams will go to each household where they will administer the vaccines to every child within the target age bracket.
The activity tagged “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang ‘Pinas,” she said “is a strictly door-to-door vaccination strategy to make sure that no child is left unserved.”
Emban quoted Health Secretary Enrique Ona’s message: “We urge mothers, fathers, and caregivers to open their doors to our vaccination team and avail of this free vaccination.”
“We mean serious business when we say that no one child be left behind in this vaccination,” she added.
DOH aims to cover 95 percent or more of the target children population.
Although each set of two vaccines costs the government P67.00, the vaccination will be absolutely free.
“But parents should know that for each child who will be hospitalized parents could spend P500 to P15,000,” she pointed out.
Emban reported that this week municipal and city health providers are undergoing training in preparation for the immunization activities; trainings at the provincial level were conducted last week.
Local government units through the Department of the Interior and Local Government have been directed to provide every assistance needed for the vaccination teams to reach all the households even in the remotest villages.
SOCCSKSARGEN Region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan, and Cotabato.
During a press conference on Monday, Dr. Emban also said that DOH-CHD is aiming to achieve measles-free certification by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This, she said, can be achieved if all the barangays in the country will pass the rapid coverage assessment, which means that personnel from WHO, UNICEF, and other global organizations will visit villages to confirm whether at least 95 percent of houses have been covered with measles vaccination.
“Within three months after the immunization activity, there should not be a single case of measles that will be reported anywhere in the country,” she said.
Also, 80 percent of the reporting sites, including rural health units; provincial, city and municipal health offices; and hospitals, should be able to submit weekly reports and at least 80 percent of the reported suspected cases should be investigated within 48 hours.
Other requirements include: specimen for testing of at least 50 of the reported cases should be taken from time of first contact until 28 days after rash onset; these specimen should reach testing in a laboratories in suitable state for testing; and at least 80 percent of tested specimen must tested and reported back to surveillance team within seven days. (PIA 12)