A lawmaker on Monday urged the House of Representatives to provide the Department of Health an allocation of PHP800 million pesos to fund the required three doses of anti-polio vaccination to 5.5 million children at risk across the country.
In a privilege speech, House deputy majority leader Bernadette Herrera cited Department of Health data that a 95-percent target of vaccine coverage is required to ensure that the entire population is protected against polio.
Herrera, however, noted that vaccine coverage for the third dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) was only at 66 percent.
“For each child that remains infected, children across the country are at great risk of contracting the disease,” she said.
“We have a duty to give each child, no matter where they live, and regardless of their socio-economic status, a chance for a brighter future,” she added.
The lawmaker stressed the need to implement more strategic measures to totally eliminate the ongoing transmission of the virus, highlighting that the vaccination program entails sufficient funding, proper stocking of vaccines, accessibility to health care centers, and adequate manpower for the population group.
She said the required PHP800-million funding would help bankroll the house-to-house “polio patak” vaccination program for all children under the age of 5.
According to the World Health Organization, failure to eradicate polio from the last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200,000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.
In addition to vaccination, Herrera said the government should also work on restoring the public’s confidence in the anti-polio movement and other government vaccination programs by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of prevention.
“I now ask all of you to join me in helping educate ourselves, our families, our health officials, our leaders, our friends in the Press, all Filipinos, to end polio in the country. We simply must protect our children in order for a true and positive change to begin within our youth,” she said. (PNA)