Press Release
September 22, 2019

...says DOH also needs to track high-risk communities to prevent outbreak

Sen. Nancy Binay today called on barangay health workers to take an active part in the battle to wipe-out polio in the community level.

"Community surveillance is essential para agad natin matulungan ang DOH na ma-identify ang mga high-risk areas na maaaring panggalingan ng polio virus. The first link of the surveillance chain are the barangay health centers, and for them to make sure that expanded vaccinations are given for other diseases, ranging from measles and rubella to meningitis, and that no children are missed," Binay said.

Following the resurgence of paralytic polio cases in the Philippines after being declared polio-free for 19 years, Binay added that too much of disinformation about preventive vaccination created a public nuisance, not withstanding the high degree of distrust from parents which was among the reasons why polio reemerged.

"We've triumphed in being polio-free for 19 years, until everything about vaccination went wrong. Dahil na rin disinformation and distorted presentations, the resistance of parents to have their children receive vaccine shots is very much overwhelming. DOH tried hard to increase the public's vaccine confidence, but we're like back to year 2000," the senator pointed out.

According to Binay, the first step to stopping transmission and preventing possible polio outbreak is to map and survey high-risk communities where health threats are occurring.

"Malaki ang ginagampanang role ng mga barangay health workers. LGUs can help in increasing DOH's surveillance efforts in monitoring high-risk areas, and in dealing with the level of community resistance against having children vaccinated," she added.

Refusal of parents due to misconceptions regarding vaccination is the emerging obstacle in achieving complete eradication of polio and other preventive diseases.

"Sa kabila ng efforts ng DOH na pawiin ang pangamba ng mga magulang na ligtas ang pagpapabakuna, at kahit naging matiyaga ang ating mga health workers na kumbinsihin sila sa mga benepisyo nito sa kanilang mga anak, di natin inakala ang napakalaking trauma na dala misinformation dahil na rin sa social media," Binay said.

She added that DOH might consider revamping its vaccination strategy in a renewed effort to wipe out the polio virus.

"Yung pagbabalik ng polio after 19 years ay maaaring mas mapanganib sa public health kung ihahambing sa ibang sakit. Without a dose of protection, children are more vulnerable to polio due to insufficient immunity particularly in communities with sanitation challenges. But there's always hope in stopping polio," Binay said.

The polio virus is spread through fecal matter, especially in poor and unsanitary areas. Although rarely fatal, polio is incurable and can permanently paralyze a child within hours of infection.

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