WHO, Unicef eye polio vaccination for Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi kids
MANILA, Philippines—The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) continue their support to the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure polio vaccination of children from the remote islands of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa).
In a joint statement released Thursday, WHO and Unicef said they are targeting to help vaccinate 488,000 children under 10 years old in the BaSulTa area as they are at risk of infection from polio due to low vaccination coverage, inaccessibility, and security issues in the island municipalities and barangays.
The immunization will be from Jan. 6 to Jan. 12 for BaSulTa and Zamboanga City, while the Mindanao-wide campaign will run from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, Feb. 17 to March 1, and from March 23 to April 4.
The DOH announced a polio outbreak in the Philippines in September last year, 19 years since the country was declared polio-free.
The groups noted that local government units need additional help to reach higher vaccination rates, especially those hard-to-reach areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
WHO and Unicef also urged parents to have their children vaccinated during synchronized polio vaccination rounds in priority areas announced by DOH.
The groups have been supporting health officials in responding to the polio outbreak by deploying health workers to ensure that vaccination campaigns are planned and implemented effectively.
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