The City Health Office (CHO) is seeking the support of the Department of Education 11 to intensify its campaign on the measles vaccine.
Dr. Julinda Acosta, CHO technical division chief, said that they will enjoin the DepEd 11 officials, particularly the school principals, to help them with the information dissemination following the low turnout of measles vaccination last year.
Acosta revealed that only 39.3%, or 12,784, out of 35,522 targeted public school Grade 1 and Grade 7 students were immunized.
“Since classes are still on going, one of the plans of the CHO is to go back to the school. With that, we will have to coordinate with the school officials so that we will be able to give consent forms again,” Acosta said during the i-Speak forum yesterday.
Acosta noted that most of the consent forms were unreturned or declined, causing the low turnout of the vaccination coverage on schools.
Currently, the DepEd and local health offices have an agreement on immunization process.
“We have a memorandum of agreement between the DepEd and the health sectors. Their task is on the preparation of consents, information guide while the heath sector of the locality is tasked to conduct the immunization,” said Acosta.
However, Acosta sees a need for support as well to assist the conduct of vaccination.
“We would like to ask the assistance of the nurses in the vaccination process. We are planning a meeting with the DepEd on this matter,” Acosta called.
“We really lack personnel, most of our nurses and even midwives are now abroad. From communities plus the schools, the City Health Office staff could not cater it all,” she added.
Meanwhile, DepED XI Regional Director Atty. Alberto Escobarte expressed his support to the call of the CHO.
“We are supportive. In fact, Sec. Briones had a meeting last week with the DOH secretary regarding the thrust to convince the parents especially with the low turnout (last year), to convince the parents to vaccinate their children,” Escobarte said.
Escobarte added that apart from the information dissemination, they are mobilizing their medical workers and nurses.
The CHO has also launched the Immunization without Borders program in the wake of a measles outbreak in some parts of the country.
Acosta explained that under this policy, children coming from outside the city will still avail of the free measles immunization in any barangay health center.
Parents only need to bring their immunization cards, she said.
However, those with no immunization cards may still bring their kids to the barangay health center for the vaccine.
While the city only achieved 39.3% in its immunizations target in different public elementary schools, the CHO accomplished a much higher 86.6 % immunizations in different health centers in the city last year.
The intensified immunization effort is a result of the continuing measles outbreak in some areas in Luzon and Visayas that already claimed at least 70 lives and sent 4,300 others to emergency rooms.
Acosta said they are collaborating with the different hospitals and stakeholders to make sure the children in the city are protected.
She said the Philippine Pediatrics Society – Davao City Southern Mindanao Chapter has identified five hospitals where measles immunization will be offered to children starting at six months old. The identified hospitals are Davao Doctors Hospital, Brokenshire Hospital, San Pedro Hospital, Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital, and Metro Davao Medical and Research Center.
“They will conduct immunization this February 22 and this is free,” Acosta said.
The hospitals will be giving free measles immunization to children on Feb. 22 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
The CHO will still continue a house-to-house immunization to those who have immunization card.
by Julianne A. Suarez with Kiara Maxine Cervantes and Legardo Gallardo/JMC Interns
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