Anti-polio campaign in SouthCot covers 94% of target infants, children

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 Dec) – Health personnel in South Cotabato province have immunized at total of 107,642 infants and children in the initial round of the Mindanao-wide synchronized mass polio vaccination campaign.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office, said Wednesday such accomplishment covers 93.79 percent of the 114,774 identified recipients for the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” conducted from Nov. 25 to Dec. 13.

He said six of the province’s 10 towns and lone city reached a total coverage of at least 95 percent, the targeted rate to achieve herd immunity in local communities, for eligible children aged five years and below. These are the municipalities of Norala with 99.90 percent, Tboli with 99.62 percent, Tampakan with 99.23 percent, Sto. Niño with 98.13 percent, Surallah with 96.34 percent and Banga with 95.14 percent.

Koronadal City posted a total coverage of 93.45 percent, Tupi with 92.5 percent, Polomolok with 90.31 percent, Lake Sebu with 87.50 percent and Tantangan with 86.52 percent.

“Although we have not reached the 95 percent herd immunity target, we were able to cover all our barangays and communities,” Aturdido told reporters.

The official said they have identified the gaps in the initial campaign during their post-polio vaccination implementation review on Tuesday.

He said among the issues and concerns they encountered were the province’s border or boundary problem, limited manpower, refusal of some parents and religious groups to have their children vaccinated and uncooperative private pediatricians.

They also faced problems with the low quality of indelible inks used to mark the vaccinated children, confusion with the interpretation of guidelines and the non-uniform marking of covered houses, he said.

“Our vaccinators had difficulty carrying the heavy vaccine carriers, some got sick during the campaign and others were bitten by dogs and suffered from heat stroke,” he said.

Aturdido said they set some interventions to address these gaps in preparation for the second round of the immunization activities scheduled on Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 2020. (MindaNews)