Island surpasses targets in Chikiting Ligtas vax drive

More than 100 percent of children targeted in Catanduanes under the Department of Health’s Chikiting Ligtas project has been vaccinated against measles, rubella, and polio.

Last May, teams from the DOH, local health units and barangay health workers scoured the 315 barangays in the province for 0-59 month-old and 9-59 month-old children eligible for the vaccination.

As of the June 8, 2023 report, a total of 19,416 children 9-59 months old have been vaccinated against measles and rubella, while 22,892 children 0-59 months old were given the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).

All 11 municipalities exceeded the target coverage based on the actual population, the report prepared by Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Hazel Palmes stated.

The Chikiting Ligtas campaign is part of the Measles Rubella and Bivalent Oral Polio virus Vaccine Supplementary Immunization Activities (MR-BOPV SIA) aimed to accelerate catch-up on the number of children who missed out their routine immunization, whether partially or entirely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Measles, a vaccine-preventable disease, when left unattended could lead to broncho pneumonia and blindness while rubella or sometimes called German measles, can led to congenital anomalies.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling viral disease that attacks the spinal cord and causes muscle atrophy and deformities rendering the victim detained in bed, or in severe cases can lead to death.

To ensure the campaign’s successful implementation, DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. instructed all the LGUs to provide the DOH an inventory of households with children under 5 years old and determine barangays with the highest number of eligible children.

They are also directed to conduct orientations, information sessions, and town hall meetings in coordination with the DOH Center for Health Development, barangays, and Sangguniang Kabataan.

According to UNICEF, around 67 million children globally missed out entirely or partially on routine immunization between 2019 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It ranked the Philippines second to the highest number of children with zero doses in East Asia and the Pacific Region, and fourth (4th) in the world.

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