By Ben Rosario
Lack of access to health services, clean potable water and better sanitation caused by poverty are among the reasons behind the reoccurence of polio in the country, including one case in Quezon City.
House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera said the increasing number of youths stricken with polio dictates that government must now determine what triggered the dreaded disease’s return, years after Philippines has been declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.
Herrera is the governor of District 3780 (RI 3780) of Rotary International, the civic organization that has been in the forefront of the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio in the face of the earth.
“The families and barangays which polio has affected now were left behind in the surge toward economic growth. Inclusive economy goals must include access to the most basic of health services, including vaccination,” Herrera said in a statement.
Herrera aired her reaction to reports that a three-year old boy living in an indigent community in Quezon City became the 16th patient to have been positively diagnosed with poliomyeletis.
“It implores us to redouble and be even more thorough in our efforts to vaccinate every child and adult who needs vaccination, not just for polio, but also for other diseases with vaccines,” said Herrera.
Rotary organizations nationwide were credited for the intensified anti-polio vaccination drive conducted between October 14 to 27.
RI 3780 which is composed of over 100 Quezon City-based Rotary Clubs contributed in putting the city among the top three top achievers during the anti-polio week.
The Department of Health disclosed that QC overshot its target by 103.93 percent.
Herrera-Dy said that aside from battling polio, government must also take stronger action in defeating poverty.
“Every poor family must also have access to potable water and effective sewerage systems, so that the breeding grounds of diseases and daily personal hygiene are addressed,” she explained.
Aside from these measures, Philhealth registration and expanding the 4Ps program for poor families are significant steps that could prevent polio.
The DOH said the QC-polio victim has been suffering from poor health and was immunocompromised or has poor immune system.
“He has poor health and he easily gets sick. His immune system was not able to mount a response during vaccination,” said Health Secretary Eric Domingo during a press conference last week.