Press Release/24 October 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) today joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in the observance of World Polio Day.

World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk. He led the first team to develop a vaccine against polio. The use of inactivated poliovirus vaccine and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus vaccine led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.

“We are one with the international community in the fight to eradicate polio from all types of poliovirus,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said, adding that the Department is currently implementing the synchronized polio vaccination program in light of the re-emergence of polio in the country. 

The Philippines launched the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” campaign in Manila last August 19, and in Lanao del Sur, Marawi City, Davao del Sur, and Davao City  last October 14. The campaign will be expanded to the whole of Mindanao on November 25, 2019 and will be concluded with the last round of vaccination on January 6, 2020. 

The Department will vaccinate all children 0-59 months old in identified priority areas. For other areas not covered by the “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio”, the Health Chief appealed to all mothers and caregivers to bring their children to the nearest health centers or any health facility to complete their polio and other routine vaccinations. 

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. The disease can be prevented through immunization. The strategy to eradicate polio, according toWHO, is preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.