Health workers in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are conducting a seven-day Rapid Coverage Assessment (RCA) to trace children in the region who have yet to receive polio vaccination.
Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, BARMM health minister, said Thursday the RCA is the Ministry of Health (MOH) – BARMM’s evaluation procedure to find unimmunized children below five years old and vaccinate them against polio for its “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” campaign.
MOH personnel started the RCA in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur on Monday and will continue until August 5.
The schedule for the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi has yet to be finalized.
The “Patak” campaign is the Department of Health’s program to end polio in the country.
Dipatuan said the MOH-BARMM targets to immunize at least 839,677 children in the region.
On Thursday, a team led by MOH nurse Soraida Amilil conducted an RCA in the town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao.
Amilil said the RCA also aims to identify possible causes and challenges faced by health workers in the immunization process and to plan and execute actions to correct them.
Noraisa Adam, 32, of Sitio Mala in Barangay Kabengi said having her children immunized against polio in their barangay health center ensures her children’s health.
Adam, a mother to nine children, said three children who are less than five years old have been immunized against polio on July 21.
“I attend all of our health center’s programs. They offer free check-up and provide us free medicine,” she said in the vernacular.
Bai Nadia Utto Abdulkarim, the officer in charge of Barangay Tabengi, said the MOH-BARMM’s grassroots information drive on polio vaccination has helped convince parents to have their children immunized, resulting in a high turnout in the campaign.
Several RCA teams were also dispatched to cover the towns of Sultan Sa Barongis, Parang, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Ampatuan, Datu Piang, South Upi, Buldon, Datu Unsay, and Buluan in Maguindanao; and in Piagapo, Saguiaran, and Lumbaca Unayan in Lanao del Sur.
Data from the MOH-BARMM indicated that the total anti-polio coverage in the region is at 74 percent or 622,564 children vaccinated. (PNA)