More than a hundred stakeholders gathered in Tacurong City during the Provincial Kick-off activity for measles-rubella and oral polio vaccine (MR-OPV) mass immunization on August 29, 2014.

The kick-off activity started with a motorcade participated by officials and employees of the City Health Office, DOH 12 personnel, barangay chairpersons of the 20 barangays of the city, barangay midwives, and the barangay health workers. Several mothers together with their children five years old and below also joined the acitivity.

Mayor Lina Montilla and Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director Teogenes Baluma led the kick-off program that followed after the motorcade. DOH 12 Assistant Director Louella Estember and Provincial Health Officer Henry Lastimoso were also present during the event. Sanggunian Committee on Health Vice Chairperson Ariel dela Cruz and Assistant City Health Officer Meriam Roco were also and gave their messages of support.

Pediatricians of private hospitals and clinics who joined the activity included Dr. Marilie Lechonsito, Dr. Luzviminda Madronero and Dr. Lilian Demafiles.

The mass immunization served as a supplemental activity to the regular immunization conducted by local health centers. The DOH project aims to bring the measles cases down to very low levels. It also aims to help keep the Philippines polio-free.

MR-OPV mass immunization is scheduled the whole month of September. Targeted children to receive the vaccines are as follows: a) 9 months to below 5 years old (59 months) who will get a dose of measles/german measles vaccine; and b) 0 to below 5 years old (59 months) who will get 2 drops of oral polio vaccine.

All barangays of the city will set up vaccination posts during the period of mass immunization. For zones or puroks that are identified as high risk for MR-OPV, the health workers will do the house to house immunization.

Director Baluma expressed his appreciation to the city government for its gains in the implementation of health-related programs particularly on immunization. For the measles-rubella and OPV immunization, he expects that Tacurong will be able to cover at least 95 percent of the total children aging 5 years and below.

“Based on Tacurong’s previous gains, I am confident that you will surpass the 95 percent target and once you will reach it, the DOH 12 will award P50 thousand incentive”, Baluma said.

In her message during the kick-off activity, Mayor Montilla enjoined the city health personnel and the barangay health workers to surpass the 95 percent target not because of the incentive from the DOH but because receiving complete immunization is a right of every Filipino child.

The kick-off program concluded with the ceremonial drops or “patak” of oral polio vaccine to children brought by their parents during the program. Ceremonial injection of measles vaccine was also administered. (LGU Tacurong City Information)

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