By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro government, through its Ministry of Health (MoH), has assured that it will continue its fight against vaccine-preventable diseases in conjunction with the global drive to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
MoH Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan gave the assurance in a virtual press conference on Wednesday in celebration of the World Immunization Week (April 24-30) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“Asahan po ninyo na gagawin namin ang lahat ng aming makakaya, tulad po ng ginawa namin noong ‘All Out War Against Poliovirus’, para masigurado na ligtas ang ating mga anak gamit ang pagbabakuna sa mga tinatawag natin na vaccine-preventable diseases,” Dipatuan said.
Dipatuan said that during the re-emergence of the poliovirus in the Philippines last year, he declared an “all-out war against poliovirus” and implemented an immunization program to vaccinate over 50,000 children in BARMM.
The intensified drive earned for BARMM either the second or third slot among top three successful regions in the country, he said.
While many countries have become focused on the fight against COVID-19, Dimpatuan said BARMM should not sideline efforts against vaccine-preventable diseases.
He prodded the public about the need to continue the immunization of children in conjunction with the sustenance of measures in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Aming mahal na mga kababayan, habang ating nilalabanan ang COVID-19 na siyang nagpapahirap ng sitwasyon natin sa mga panahong ito, ‘wag po sana natin kaligtaan ang iba pang mahahalagang panukalang pangkalusugan kagaya ng pagbabakuna sa inyong mga anak,” Dipatuan said.
“Tandaan po natin na ang mga sakit na pinipigilan ng ating routine immunization ay maaaring higit pang mapanganib o di kaya’y kapantay sa COVID-19. Dahil dito, nais naming bigyang diin ang tuloy-tuloy na pagbabakuna sa inyong mga anak upang mapanatili silang malusog at ligtas sa kanilang paglaki,” Dipatuan added.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported the MoH in the observance of the World Immunization Week in BARMM.
UNICEF Philippines Country Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov corroborated Minister Dipatuan’s view, saying: “We must do all that we can to support, empower, and invest in their safety, training, and well-being, as they encourage parents to vaccinate against preventable diseases that remain a very real threat to children.”
The UNICEF official urged local government units, including those in BARMM, to continue to have their children immunized, especially in areas with no known cases of COVID-19 and those who have adequate immunization staff and vaccines.
CAPTION: Photo shows volunteer workers flashing papers containing slogans advocating the need for continued vaccination drive among children in BARMM, during a virtual press conference held in Cotabato City on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health in observance of World Immunization Week.