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BARMM’s polio immunization campaign reaches 95% target children

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Cotabato City (August 12, 2020) – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), with the help of key stakeholders, has vaccinated a total of 803,516 children against polio virus, reaching its 95 percent target all over the region.

The 2-week long polio immunization campaign ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio’ (SPKP) is the Department of Health’s (DOH) program to end polio in the country by immmunizing children under five years old, and children under 10 years old in some areas in Mindanao.

In BARMM, the SPKP ran from July 20 to August 9 in the region’s five provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan said the immunization is a commitment to protect the children in the region from other diseases, such as the poliovirus while facing Covid-19 crisis.

The Bangsamoro Government’s Ministry of Health (MOH) assured that community-based public health practitioners assigned for the polio-vaccination strictly observed health and safety measures during the entire conduct of the campaign in response to health crisis brought about by the Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19).

According to the guidelines set by MOH- BARMM, apart from the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided for the health workers (vaccinators), there is also a ‘No Touch Approach’ wherein only the parent or caretaker can hold the child’s face/mouth and finger.

MOH-BARMM also conducted a seven-day Rapid Coverage Assessment (RCA) in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur on July 27 until August 5.

The RCA is MOH-BARMM’s evaluation procedure to find unvaccinated children below five years old and immunize them against polio.

RCA was also aimed at identifying possible causes and challenges faced by health workers in the immunization process and to plan and execute actions to correct them.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have supported the MOH-BARMM in its campaign through procurement of supplies and technical support.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious disease that affects the spinal cord causing muscle weakness and paralysis and can eventually lead to death. It is caused by the poliovirus that spreads from person to person. Though incurable, polio can be prevented through vaccination.(Bureau of Public Information)