Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, instructed all Red Cross chapters to coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) and local health officials and provide full support of volunteers for mass immunization with oral polio vaccine.
This is in response to DOH’s declaration of a polio outbreak in the country, after a 19-year absence of the said poliovirus.
Gordon mobilized the PRC’s 143 volunteers to update the list of all 0-5 -year old children and get their vaccination status and identify the barangay with highest risk based on low vaccination coverage, presence of migrants with unknown vaccination status, and, areas without toilets and limited running water.
“Let’s be vigilant in fighting polio. This is a very dangerous disease that can cause irreversible paralysis. People should not forgo immunization because it is a proven tool for controlling and even eradicating infectious diseases,” said Gordon.
At the same time, the PRC embarked on a massive information campaign against polio reminding mothers to have their children vaccinated for all vaccine preventable diseases in the expanded program of immunization, to boil water, not to defecate in open spaces, and to always wash hands.
“Street food and restaurants need to serve food that is hot, and tighten up food safety regulations and monitoring,” said Gordon.
Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease caused by poliovirus. It is a highly contagious illness that can be transmitted from person to person, through a fecal to mouth route and also throughfood and water contaminated by the virus. Fever, fatigue, headache, stiffness in the neck, vomiting and pain in the limbs are the usual signs and symptoms of an infected person.