Candon, Ilocos Sur—Christmas came early for senior citizens of this city as they recently received the gift of protection against pneumonia in the annual vaccination campaign initiated by its local government.
This event, launched in November, was held in the same month as the global observance of World Pneumonia Day every Nov. 12.
To strengthen its efforts to build a healthy citizenry, the City of Candon partnered with MSD in the Philippines, a global health care company, to conduct free immunization against pneumonia among senior citizens through the “Bakunado si Lolo at Lola, Iwas Pulmonya” program.
During the program, pneumonia vaccine was administered for free to almost 500 senior citizens present during the event, to encourage others to go to their health centers and consult with their doctors on how to get and schedule their pneumonia vaccination.
Under the program, elderly who are at least 65 years old will receive one dose of pneumonia vaccine, while those who are 60 years old must receive a second dose after five years following the first dose. Pneumonia vaccine is also administered for free across all health centers in the city.
Candon has gained rightful prominence as a model health care community, largely credited to its systematic local health care governance spearheaded by its mayor, Dr. Ericson Singson.
Each of the city’s 42 barangays has a functional barangay health station and has five percent of its internal revenue allotted for health.
The city has met and surpassed the Department of Health’s personnel-to-population ratio with four doctors (1:15,494 people), 14 midwives (1:4,423), and five nurses (1:12,395). Candon also secured a 6-in-1 accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
Being a medical doctor by profession and the focal mayor for health of the League of Cities of the Philippines, Singson has identified public health as one of his priority areas in governance.
In the Philippines, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed pneumonia as one of the top 3 leading causes of deaths among adults after ischemic heart disease and cancer. The elderly, in particular, are most affected by the disease because of age-related impairment of the immune system.
Vaccination is crucial in paving the way for a community to be protected from diseases. It is one of the most successful health interventions in history and is second to clean water in greatly reducing the burden of infectious illnesses. Through immunization, diseases like smallpox have been completely eradicated.
This positive outlook, however, has been tempered of late, in part due to the rise of vaccine hesitancy — defined as the “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination services” and identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the top global health threats in 2019.
To emphasize the importance of a life-course vaccination in order to enhance public health, local government units (LGUs) are collaborating with several sectors in restoring vaccine confidence by ensuring high vaccine coverage and informing the public of the benefits of vaccination and how vaccine safety is constantly assessed, assured, and communicated.
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