Bishop urges strong response to polio outbreak

September 25, 2019

A CATHOLIC prelate has called on the government to take immediate action amid a polio outbreak in the country.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said efforts must be made to eliminate the disease, such as by achieving high rates of vaccination of children.

The Department of Health recently confirmed the return of the dreaded disease to the Philippines after almost two decades of being a polio-free country.

“It is very sad that there is a re-emergence of polio after having eliminated it for many years. This tells us that we should not let down our guard in fighting diseases,” Pabillo said.

The prelate also joined the calls for parents to have their kids vaccinated amid a polio epidemic in the country.

He said that there is no place for complacency when it comes to keeping the country polio-free.

“We encourage parents to have their children vaccinated against polio,” Pabillo said.

The bishop said the fear of the parents will have to be addressed by educating the public about the polio vaccine “that it is safe and necessary”.

“DOH should also be warned to be very transparent in its programs to gain the trust of the people and to allay their fears,” he added.

The agency earlier confirmed two polio cases in the country affecting a three-year-old girl in Lanao del Sur and a five-year-old boy in Laguna.

Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system causing paralysis and on rare occasion, the DOH said, can be fatal. The disease mostly affects children under the age of 5 and is transmitted by person-to-person.

While there is no cure, the virus is preventable by vaccine, according to health officials.