Philippines joins the global community in observing World Immunization Week

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Health (DOH) joins the rest of the global community in observing World Immunization Week today with the theme, “Vaccination is everyone’s job, Protect our Children and Protect our Communities.”

This year’s theme aims to solicit the commitment and full support of local chief executives (LCEs) and other international partners in making immunization available and sustainable across all administrative levels in the country, for the benefit of all Filipino mothers and their children.

Current data on Fully-Immunized Child (FIC) shows there is a declining trending immunization coverage consecutively for the last three years (74% in 2014; 71% in 2014; 69% {partial} in 2016), which is way beyond the 95% coverage target. Low coverage means that the public is vulnerable to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Strategies under the Philippine Health Agenda (A-C-H-I-E-V-E) of the current administration are seen to likely address the identified challenges on the significant decrease of coverage.

Similarly, the event is a venue to prime local chief executives (LCEs) on the DOH launching of a campaign to improve the demand for routine immunization. It further includes a new TV and Radio public service announcement (PSA) and audio visual production (AVP) on “Baby Come Back,” title of the video which will be also shown in health centers.

Various efforts seen to address these issues include timely procurement of vaccines and other logistics, construction of additional cold rooms, and strengthening health promotion and advocacy activities for immunization.

All LCEs are therefore being called to support vaccination activities through provision of funds and social mobilization.

The DOH also launches the Philippine Health TV, a project of the DOH in partnership with the local government units (LGUs). It primarily aims to widen and strengthen the reach of key health messages by making general health information accessible through LED TVs distributed to various health facilities around the country.

The operation of LED TVs in health facilities offers a lot of benefits as it provides continuous health information for free at the point of service, it has a lower cost compared to buying airtime in commercial TV networks, and materials can be changed anytime depending on the priorities of the DOH and LGUs. The unit is recommended to be installed in the most strategic location frequented by most of the patients especially in the outpatient’s waiting area of health facility.

“The Department of Health deeply recognizes the significance that vaccination plays in our lives. Hence, my strong encouragement to all health workers to double their efforts in increasing its coverage, particularly among young children in the communities,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial affirmed.

The DOH, assisted by the local government of Taguig in collaboration with the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund organized this event that was attended by some 450 participants from all walks-of-life.