In line with the PMO MOC’s continuing promotion of health and wellness towards prime environment, health, safety, and quality under the Integrated Management System, the Ports of Cagayan de Oro, Benoni, and Balingoan all under its jurisdiction, supported the Department of Health’s (DOH) polio outbreak response immunization activity that aimed to cover all regions in Mindanao starting 25 November 2019.

The Philippines has been polio-free for nineteen (19) years until the recent outbreak of the disease where eight (8) cases were already recorded, seven (7) of them were from Mindanao.  In response to this and to prevent further poliovirus recirculation, the DOH in collaboration with Local Government Units (LGUs), targets high population immunity among children five (5) years old and below or from zero (0) to fifty-nine 59 months of age nationwide. Joining this vaccine campaign, the PMO provided “Patak Center” at the Ports manned by DOH, City Health Office personnel, and PMO staff in order to cater both embarking and disembarking passenger children tagged along by their parents and/or guardians. The activity will run from 26 November to 07 December 2019 at the Baseport for the first round of vaccination and in January next year for the second. The vaccination activity was earlier conducted at the Ports of Benoni and Balingoan on 25 November 2019.

Ms. Nice Bingona, Nurse and API Coordinator of City Health Office informed that children aging five years old and below are the most vulnerable to the said disease since their immune system/ resistance is not yet well-developed. She added that children who received the complete vaccination at right intervals (three doses/rounds of polio vaccination is recommended), will have increased protection against poliovirus.

Albeit voluntary, or upon the parents’ or guardians’ consent, DOH urged the public to avail of the free vaccination for their children. Ms. Bingona told that polio has no cure. It can cause paralysis, and when it affects the lungs, it may even cause death.

Health Center workers in Barangay Macabalan (where the CDO Port is located) target to vaccinate a total of 2,481 children below the age of five (5).

The Philippine government is trying to vaccinate more than a million children against polio nationwide.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization represented by two (2) medical doctors had extended their gratitude to the PMO MO/C for its active participation in the campaign.

Dr. Keith Feldon and Dr. Mukhtiar Hussain Bhayo visited the Port of Cagayan de Oro on 30 November 2019, to observe the process and arrangement of the administration of polio vaccines to embarking and disembarking passenger children at the Port. They were also informed about the vaccination campaign in the terminal ports of Balingoan, and Benoni, Camiguin.

The Doctors also inquired about the measures implemented by the Port against the African swine fever (ASF) to which Port Manager Isidro V. Butaslac Jr. replied that the Port has already banned the entry of hogs and pork products. The PMO has tightened its quarantine checks and security screening in the Ports under its jurisdiction to crack down on smuggling of meat products to prevent the ASF from spreading further.

The Department of Health-Region 10 resumed the vaccination activity at the Ports of Cagayan de Oro and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental on 20 January 2020.  At CDO Port, the health workers were stationed at the new Passenger Terminal Building and arrival area, Gate 1A.

The activity will end on 10 February 10, 2020. —IMR Lam