COTABATO CITY – Around 92-percent or 4,331 out of 4,713 target children from the municipality of Buldon, Maguindanao benefited from the Ministry of Health’s supplemental immunization program against measles and rubella.
These children are from the 15-barangays of Buldon, namely: Ampuan, Aratuc, Cabayuan, Calaan, Dinganen, Edcor, Karim, Kulimpang, Mataya, Minabay, Nuyo, Oring, Pantawan, Piers, and Rumidas.
The campaign started last October 26 and will run until November 25.
Dr. Elly Novem Eluna, Rural Health Unit (RHU) physician, emphasized the importance of the house-to-house campaign to achieve their target children to be immunized.
Accordingly, some parents and guardians from other barangays are still hesitant for their children to be vaccinated by rubella and measles because they perceived it’s unsafe or somehow the shots are linked to Covid-19.
“We initiated advocacy to counter this misinformation and also to highlight the importance of getting rubella-measles shots. It is possible to meet our 95-percent target but it is going to be a gradual process and we only have three days left,” Eluna said.
“Some health workers received threats, too. But we try to understand the side of the parents and also not put the lives of our workers at stake. So indeed, a gradual process is necessary to meet our target goal,” Eluna added.
He also said that during the house visitation, their health workers strictly abide by the health protocols imposed by the ministry.
“We follow the minimum health standards like wearing of facemask, face shield, and we use sanitizers to ensure that we are Covid-19 free. However, some parents are really strict to their kids and negative perceptions about vaccines are embedded to them, so dialogue on countering misinformation is deemed necessary,” Eluna added.
As one of the partner agencies on rubella-measles vaccination campaign, UNICEF helps to effectively communicate to these parents and caregivers why immunization is important for children, and what information is correct and incorrect.
“We are at an especially challenging time when immunization for children is being threatened. All of us must do our part in ensuring children in our family are immunized, and that we provide the correct information to parents, community members and among our peers,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.
Meanwhile, a total of 506,448 children under the age of five were expected to receive free and safe vaccination across the Bangsamoro region. (Bureau of Public Information)