By Minerva Newman
CEBU CITY— Central Visayas is still Polio-free, according to the Department of Health (DOH-7)-Central Visayas Center for Health Development (CVCHC).
“The last reported cases of Poilo in Cebu were in 1993 and Central Visayas was declared polio-free in 2000 and still is to date,” DOH-7 medical officer Dr. Van Philip Baton said in a Kapihan sa PIA forum Tuesday.
Baton said even after the declaration DOH-7 never let up in its polio vaccination campaign to control/prevent polio diseases, vaccination creates that body immunity for children against polio.
With the resurgence of polio in the country, DOH-7 urged all local government units to focus all efforts to complete polio immunization for all children who are below five years old, we have enough vaccines, Baton added.
Current findings from the DOH-CVCHD Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit showed that from January1 to September 28, 2019 there were 23 cases with one death of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) 16 cases of which were discarded as non-polio, while seven cases are still pending for classification.
Baton said ages of these AFP cases ranged from 4 months to 32-year-old; 12 were females and 11 were males. Their vaccination status showed that 18 of them received 3-doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV); one received two doses of OPV, and one received one dose while three had no vaccination history.
Dr. Baton explained that polio disease is a public health problem which is a viral infection with symptoms of “trankaso” that may lead to acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) which affects the person for life, “but only 20 percent will manifest as polio.”
The most effective way to prevent polio is hygiene, that include zero open defecation, hand washing, proper food preparation and proper nutrition. Baton said that good nutrition plays a big part for vaccination to take effect.
Baton calls on parents to go to the nearest health centers and have their children vaccinated with the complete 3-doses either in oral or injected polio vaccine to prevent and control the resurgence of the disease in the region.