Polio comeback more dangerous than other diseases – Herrera

Published September 17, 2019, 4:05 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Ben Rosario

A poliomyelitis comeback in the country may be far more perilous threat to public health compared to other diseases, thus, should be nipped in the bud as swiftly as concerned agencies can, Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera said Tuesday.

Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera (Photo from National Nutrition Council - NCR / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera (Photo from National Nutrition Council – NCR / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Herrera, current governor of the Rotary International District, aired this observation as the Department of Health and the RI organizations in the country agreed to join hands in addressing the polio threat whose spectre is enough to cause concern among health officials and the Rotary organization.

The cooperation of various local government units has also been guaranteed by local chief executives.

Herrera disclosed that Health Secretary Francisco Duque will join leaders of ten RI districts in the country to launch on Friday the “End Polio Forever in the Philippines” campaign.

The house-to-house “polio patak” vaccination program will be conducted nationwide, initially from October 1 to 14.

“But aside from the ‘patak’ campaign, another significant goal of the DOH-RI cooperation is to restore public confidence in the anti-polio drive and other government vaccination programs,” said Herrera, who is in partnership with the chairperson of the Rotary International End Polio Now campaign in the Philippines.

DOH records disclosed that polio vaccination for children below five years old dropped to less than 95 percent in 2018, which is low as far as vaccination standard against polio is concerned.

Alarm was also raised following the recent discovery of poliomyelitis virus on a sewer in Manila.

“The country could be at risk again to a return of polio. This dreaded disease has not only killed more people than dengue, it has also disabled tens of thousands until the international community decided to put their acts together to eradicate the virus,” said Herrera.

Herrera revealed that the Philippines had already been cleared of poliomyelitis as far as the World Health Organization is concerned.

The Rotary organization has been in the forefront of the international effort to obliterate polio. It has allocated a huge fund to implement the RI anti-polio program, the amount of which is being matched by the Bill Gates Foundations to guarantee effectivity of the effort.

Herrera said the first dose to be given in October to children aged five years and below. Follow up doses will be scheduled in November and December.