By Charina Clarisse Echaluce
More than 2 million children in the Western Pacific, the region where the Philippines belongs, do not have regular access to immunization annually, the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed Tuesday (April 25).
According to WHO, at least 2.3 million children in the region every year are not fully immunized against such health threats.
”These figures are alarming. No child should die from a preventable disease,” noted WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Shin Young-soo, amid the celebration of the World Immunization Week.
He said some of the diseases that are easily avoidable through vaccines are hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, and polio.
Unfortunately, access to vaccines remains limited for informal settlers or people living in remote locations, people displaced by natural or man-made disasters, and nomadic populations.
“Uneven immunization coverage across countries and at subnational levels continues to be an issue, leaving some groups unvaccinated,” Shin stated.
With this, he urged all member-states to do their part in ensuring that all children will be fully immunized by 2020.
He noted that policy makers must put in place all the necessary information and funding for the immunization programs.
“Insufficient data sometimes makes it difficult to identify gaps in coverage, and limited funding for immunization programmes also restricts our ability to address these obstacles,” the official disclosed.
In addition, Shin said, parents must ensure that their children receive all the required vaccines on time.
Meanwhile, community organizations, can inform the public about the benefits of vaccines and provide accurate information on when and where to get vaccinated.
“Increased immunization coverage and ensuring that all children are fully immunized by 2020 could save an additional million and a half lives globally,” the WHO official stressed.