Cayetano to DOH: Use health budget to find creative ways to promote vaccination

Published August 8, 2019, 8:38 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Pia Cayetano has urged the Department of Health to take advantage of available resources to strengthen its information drive on the importance of the government’s expanded program on immunization (EPI).

Senator Pia S. Cayetano (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Pia S. Cayetano (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Cayetano made the call during the first public hearing of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, and amid the DOH’s declaration of a national dengue epidemic in the country.

The senator lamented that the people’s lack of confidence in the vaccines is one of the factors that contributed to the recent outbreak of diseases in the country, especially after the Dengvaxia scare.

“I had the opportunity to talk to barangay health workers all over the country. And the biggest problem (they mentioned) is that the mothers were scared. (They) refused to have their children vaccinated with measles and many other vaccines because of the Dengvaxia scare,” Cayetano pointed out during the Wednesday hearing.

Cayetano, principal author and sponsor of the Mandatory Infants and Children Immunization Act or Republic Act No. 10152, stressed the importance of properly informing Filipino families about the importance of vaccination in saving their children’s lives.

She said the DOH and other concerned agencies should find more creative and aggressive ways in promoting the government’s immunization program in order to help restore the people’s trust in vaccines.

“We have a budget through the Sin Tax Reform Law (RA 10351), which we passed years ago for health promotion,” she pointed out.

“I may not have seen it, but I would like to see really exciting and engaging infomercials, cartoons, or even dramas that would help mothers appreciate the importance of vaccination,” Cayetano said.

“We passed the law precisely because we wanted to ensure that the budget moving forward would include [sufficient funds] for vaccinations… The budget for health promotions is there, let’s really make this engaging,” she stressed.