AFP personnel and allied agencies get free vaccination
Members of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Incorporated (AFPMBAI) will now have the first line of defense against one of the most common and deadly viral infections—hepatitis B.
AFPMBAI inked a memorandum of agreement with Unilab Foundation and ULIVaccines, Inc. to carry out its project dubbed “HOPE,” which stands for “Hepatitis Outbreak Prevention and Education.” The three-pronged project, which was launched on the 6th World Hepatitis Day on July 29, includes education, screening and vaccination services for members of AFPMBAI all over the country.
The information dissemination campaign is ongoing to spread awareness regarding Hepatitis B and at the same time, educate people about ways and means to prevent the transmission of the deadly virus. After which, they will be given access to screening and eventually, prevention through vaccination.
“HOPE is part of the Vaccination and Immunization Program (VIP) of AFPMBAI, which has been providing assistance and benefits to its members since 1949. This program is one of the many plowback projects for our members as we allocate funds annually to cover Health, Education, Livelihood and General Welfare projects,” said Brig. General Ricardo Morales, AFP (Ret.) FICD. “This project is one example of how we recognize the compelling need to protect the men and women of the different branches of the military service who were sworn into duty to defend our country and our people at all times and circumstances,” he added.
The project intends to focus on combating hepatitis B, which is considered to be highly infectious and easily transmitted between people through blood or body fluids. People may also contract the disease through contact with infected objects. Without proper screening, it would be difficult for people to detect signs of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that hepatitis B is one of the major diseases worldwide. It estimated that two billion people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus. The prevalence rate of the disease in the Philippines is also increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Hepatology Society of the Philippines (HSP), studies show that in the Philippines, one out of eight Filipinos is infected with the hepatitis B virus.
The hepatitis B virus is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV. If the virus becomes chronic, it may cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. In the Philippines, it is estimated that more than 7.7 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B, between 1.1 and 1.9 million of who are expected to die prematurely due to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
AFPMBAI has chosen Unilab Foundation to be its partner for the HOPE project.
“It is our privilege to be part of the HOPE project which will enable our men in service to get protected from contracting hepatitis B and its devastating impact to one’s health. At Unilab Foundation, we fully support initiatives that are sustainable and have measurable impact to ensure that we help in building a healthier country,” said Rhodora Palomar-Fresnedi, executive director of Unilab Foundation.
HOPE will kick off at the following branches of service in Metro Manila namely: the AFP at Camp Aguinaldo GHQ and Villamor Air Base, PNP at Camp Crame, and the headquarters of the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
The project will be rolled out in camps and national headquarters all over the country, starting off with select areas within Nolcom, Solcom, Centcom, WestMinCom and EastMinCom in the coming months.