The head of the Department of Health’s (DOH) office in Mimaropa said Tuesday his office continues to push for polio vaccination, especially in remote areas, as he doubted that the region is polio-free.
Mimaropa covers Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan.
“Maganda pa rin daw standing natin sa polio, wala na raw masyadong kaso, zero polio na raw tayo. But they have not seen all those areas sa bundok, yung mga islang maliliit. Nagugulat ako, may polio pa pala doon but they are not reporting it (It is said our standing in terms of the incidence of polio remains good, that we don’t have any more cases of polio, that we have zero polio. But they have not seen all those areas in the mountains, the small islands. I get surprised that there is still polio there but this is not being reported),” DOH-Mimaropa regional director, Dr. Eduardo Janairo, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
Janairo said they intend to document these cases of polio, syphilis and other diseases in remote areas for evidence, considering that municipal health officers who should be reporting them find it difficult to reach these areas.
Emphasizing the importance of polio vaccines, he said, “Ang mahalaga, gamutin yan at ang vaccine, dapat palaganapin sa island para hindi na maulit. (What is important is to cure polio patients and promote polio vaccination to eradicate this disease.)”
Oct. 24 of every year is World Polio Day.
In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Philippines as polio-free after the last polio case in the country was documented in 1993.
However, as a precautionary measure, the DOH continues polio vaccination to prevent the reemergence of the disease.
According to the WHO, poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease that mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted person to person mainly through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, through contaminated water or food.
Its symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent, the health organization said.
There is no cure for polio. It can only be prevented by immunization.