COTABATO CITY - Some 300,000 women of reproductive age – 15 to 49 years – in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) availed themselves of free booster dose of tetanus and diphtheria vaccine.
The vaccinations started in January last year in the provinces of Sulu and Basilan, as well as in the city of Marawi in Lanao del Sur and its surrounding municipalities Kapai, Ditsaan-Ramain, Marantao and Saguiaran. “The central office’s target is at least 80%, but we in the region vaccinated 88% women of reproductive age. We want to continue to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus or MNT in the entire region,” the Department of Health (DOH-ARMM) Secretary Kadil Sinolinding Jr. said. The data were officially released on May 23, as the Health department launched its locally produced advocacy videos on MNT. “We make sure that all women of reproductive age can avail of free vaccination,” DOH-ARMM Assistant Secretary Carlsum Sangkula- Jumaide, said and appealed to the public to report if the health providers sell the vaccine.
The 2015 assessment by the DOH in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund showed that the country’s MNT high-risk areas are in the ARMM. To reach these high-risk areas, DOH-ARMM implemented supplementary immunization activities to cover reproductive age women with three rounds of vaccination against tetanus. Through these vaccinations, women, when they give birth, and their newborns will be safer from MNT. As part of the Health department’s effort in eliminating MNT, it launched locally produced advocacy videos that carry the message of four Ps of immunization namely Proteksyon, Pagmamahal sa Sarili at kay Beybi, Pagpapahalaga sa Kalusugan, and Pagtitipid. “We hope that through the advocacy videos, at least we can influence women to take the initiative to go to the health centers, or approach a skilled health care provider for an actual vaccination,” Dr. Sinolinding said. “We hope that by viewing the videos, the women will realize the importance and benefits of immunization and will voluntarily submit themselves to vaccination as well as become self-reliant in seeking basic health services, including immunization,” said Erlyn Rodrigo Hampac, immunization program coordinator. (Bureau of Public Information)
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