WHO, UNICEF underscore importance of vaccines as polio reemerges in PH
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reminded parents the importance of vaccination as the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed a case of polio in the country.
In a joint statement Thursday, WHO and UNICEF stressed how vaccination is the best protection for children against polio.
“We urge all parents and caregivers of children under 5 years of age to have them vaccinated so that they are protected against polio for life,” WHO’s representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said, as quoted in the statement.
The DOH earlier announced it had recorded a case of the disease in Lanao del Sur and found out poliovirus was detected in samples taken from sewage in Manila and waterways in Davao.
UNICEF expressed alarm on polio’s recurrence in the country, pointing out the need to immunize children to stop its transmission.
“The outbreak calls for urgent action to protect more children from being infected. It reminds us of the importance of increasing immunization coverage to 95% of children to stop polio virus transmission in the Philippines,” UNICEF Philippines representative Oyun Dendevnoro said, as quoted in the same statement.
“Vaccination is the only and best protection against polio that mainly affects children under 5 years of age. As long as one single child remains infected, children across the country and even beyond are at risk of contracting polio,” Dendevnorov added.
Both WHO and UNICEF also vowed it is working closely with the DOH to respond to the polio epidemic. /je
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