MARAWI City--The Department of Health (DOH) has directed the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) to monitor and conduct surveillance against the three siblings from Lanao del Sur who showed symptoms of poliovirus.
In a press briefing in Marawi on Monday (October 15), Dr. Shalimar Rakiin, chief of Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC), confirmed that the patients are siblings aged 10, 5, and 2 years old who are experiencing fever and pain of their lower extremities upon their admission.
In September, a three-year old girl from the municipality of Marogong was tested positive of poliovirus, one of the two patients reported, almost 20 years after the Philippines was declared polio-free in 2000.
IPHO chief Dr. Alinader Minalang said the patient first manifested of having poliovirus in July.
On Monday, the DOH launched the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio in Marawi targeting 134,411 children under five years old in the province to be vaccinated in the first round of mass immunization against poliovirus by October 27.
The launching also kicked-off the house-to-house intensified campaign urging parents in 39 municipalities, including Marawi City, to immunize their children.
The DOH declared the re-emergence of polio in the Philippines last September 19 after two polio cases were confirmed in a 3 year-old from Lanao del Sur and in a 5 year-old from Laguna.
"The task before us, to address the outbreak, is enormous and vast," Doque said in a statement during the launching.
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is helping the campaign by tapping the influence of religious leaders in Marawi and Lanao del Sur.
Religious leaders, with their influence, have an important role in the campaign according to Oyun Dendevnorov, UNICEF Philippines Representative, because they can deliver sermons to influence mothers, fathers and caregivers to have their children vaccinated.
The Philippines has seen a decline of immunization coverage in the past few years, including for protection against polio according to the World Health Organization.
In 2018, 66% of children completed their oral polio vaccine (drops) doses and 45% received their inactivated polio vaccine (injection) dose.
At least 95% of children under 5 years of age need to be vaccinated, irrespective of their current vaccination status, to stop the spread of polio in the country.
The second round of mass immunization will be on November and the last round will at the end of this year targeting 97% of the children five under be vaccinated.
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