The Philippine Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are scaling up against polio following its resurgence after officially being eradicated 19 years ago in the Philippines.
On September 19, a three-year-old girl was diagnosed with polio, the Philippines’ first confirmed case since 2000. A five-year-old boy has since tested positive.
Health officials have detected the polio virus in Manila’s sewage and the waterways of Davao in Mindanao. Low immunization rates have contributed to the outbreak.
The virus hibernates in human feces. Its transmission is through contaminated food, water, or hand.
Mobilization against polio
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said: “We have mobilized all our chapters to coordinate with the health department and local officials and to provide the full support of volunteers for mass immunization and updating the list of all zero to five-year-old children and get their vaccination status.”
“This will help us identify the areas with the highest risk of polio based on low vaccination coverage as well as the lack of toilets and limited running water,“ said Gordon.
The IFRC has released 336,302 Swiss francs (336,700 US dollars) from its disaster relief emergency fund to support the Philippine Red Cross in Mindanao and Metro Manila.
It aims to vaccinate in high-risk areas including in informal settlements and hard-to-reach areas, and children who have missed out on vaccinations.
Social mobilization teams and an information campaign will target 1.2 million people with messages on the importance of vaccination.
Head of the IFRC Philippines Country Office, Chris Staines said:“We are very concerned that the resurgence of polio in the Philippines puts 11 million Filipino children under five at high risk of disability and even death.”
“We appeal to all parents to protect their children against the virus during this massive, synchronized nationwide campaign. The Philippines has eradicated polio before, and together we can do it again.”
According to the World Health Organization, polio, which has no cure, can be prevented with multiple doses of a safe and effective vaccine. (PR/ Featured Image: Pixabay)
This article, Philippines: Red Cross scales up as polio threatens 11 million children, was first published in Relief Web.