Iriga: DOH, stakeholders seek to boost immunization in Bicol to 95%

(Photo courtesy of DOH Bicol CHD)

The National Immunization Program (NIP) of the Department of Health (DOH) is in pursuit of increasing the immunization rate to 95% in the Bicol Region.

The DOH Bicol Center for Health Development (DOH Bicol CHD) together with its partners intends to address the looming crisis on child survival and vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) due to the significant and continued decrease in immunization coverage, putting the region at risk of outbreaks of VPD.

According to the partial and unofficial data from the Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS), some 75, 696, or 51% of the target children were fully immunized in 2023. This is an increase from the data recorded in 2022, wherein 70, 953 or 47% of children were fully immunized.

A fully immunized child (FIC) must have received 1 dose of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) against tuberculosis (TB) disease at birth or before reaching 12 months; 3 doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV); 3 doses of Pentavalent Vaccine against 5 life-threatening diseases: Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, and HiB; and 2 doses of Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV) at 9 months for the 1st dose and at 12 months for the 2nd dose.

With these, the DOH Bicol CHD, in partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Philippines, through the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Support (CDS3) Project and Relief International, will be conducting the First Bicol Immunization Summit 2024 on April 26, 2024, in Legazpi City.

The said activities aim to review the NIP, strategize for the goal of increasing immunization coverage, and address the operational challenges encountered by health workers in its implementation. In order to boost and increase vaccine advocacy and demand generation, the 1st Bicol Immunization Summit also seeks to involve decision and policy makers from non-health sectors. By and large, this platform envisions galvanizing the efforts of key stakeholders in achieving our goal of reaching our immunization target.

Specifically, the efforts and support of DOH Bicol CHD to the LGUs on the Immunization Recovery Plan for 2023 and its agenda for zero-dose children will be reviewed and assessed. Participants will identify the effective practices implemented as well as share their mitigation measures executed to address recurring gaps in immunization.

To further contribute to the restoration of high vaccination coverage and strengthen and sustain the immunization system, the support of the DOH Bicol CHD, Provincial DOH Office, and Provincial Health Offices will be intensified and improved, aligning with the national and international goals for immunization.

There will be a discussion on the current national and regional immunization status and directions of the National Immunization Program for 2023–2030. After the challenges encountered during the COVID-19 and Measles-Rubella and Oral Polio Vaccine Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR OPVSIA) campaigns, the activity targets identifying ways forward in the LGUs.

Local Chief Executives, National Government Agencies, Provincial, City, and Municipal Health Officers, NIP Coordinators, Health Education and Promotion Officers (HEPOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), and Medical Societies and Associations will be invited to participate and support the said activities. These will strengthen camaraderie among identified stakeholders and advocates for the development of the immunization system for higher immunization coverage in Bicol.

Along with this, there will be a Biyaheng Salud Bikolnon: Bakuna Jingle Making Contest to search for the most creative jingle that promotes the role of routine immunization in ensuring the health and safety of children against vaccine-preventable diseases.

DOH Bicol CHD enjoins all parents and guardians to ensure that the children are vaccinated with complete routine immunization doses in accordance with their immunization schedule to decrease the number of unvaccinated and undervaccinated children and prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the region.

(Source: DOH Bicol Press Release)

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