Press Release
September 3, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged for more private-public partnerships (PPP's) to combat preventable diseases, as Pfizer Philippines is set to administer free vaccinations for pneumococcal disease (PD) including pneumonia.

Pfizer will be administering one-shot anti-pneumonia vaccines to 500 children aged 2 to 5 years old in Baler, Aurora on September 10 from 8am to 4pm.

Angara, author of the Philhealth Act, noted that in 2008, pneumonia was the most reported disease in government health centers according to the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB).

"Pneumonia is preventable, yet the gaps in our healthcare system become clearer when many still succumb to it. Government is doing its best, but the private sector should also step in," said Angara.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the sickness stands as the second highest aggregated cause of death for children under 5 years old in the Philippines.

Pneumococcal disease (PD) refers to the group of illnesses caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae or Pneumococcus. PD infections can result in sinusitis and pneumonia, as well as more serious ailments like meningitis and septicemia.

The WHO reported that PD is estimated to cause more than one third of the annual 2 million child deaths that occur worldwide.

Around 90 strains of Pneumococcus exist, with 13 accounting for the most common types of the disease. Experts say vaccination is the most effective way of preventing these infections.

Angara said that Pfizer Philippines has been partnering with organizations in both the public and private sector to provide children with pneumococcal vaccinations otherwise inaccessible due to high costs.

"The efforts of Pfizer are laudable and should be replicated across the country. Their initiatives are examples of how the private sector can step in and supplement what government is doing," said the veteran lawmaker.

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