Sotto: RH program will just be like that failed immunization program of the DOH


THE failure of the Department of Health (DOH) to effectively carry out its immunization program in the country is a clear preview on how the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) program will turn out in case the Supreme Court decided to rule in favor of the legality of Republic Act 10354 or the RH law, a law maker said on Friday.

Senate deputy minority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, said that he has no doubt that billions of pesos allocated by the government for the procurement of RH related items this year would end up just like the unused measles vaccines the DOH procured last year.

The outbreak of measles in various areas in the country including Metro Manila has raised serious concern because it happened despite of the immunization program being carried out by the government.

Instead of accepting responsibility, the Health department has put the blame on the failure of parents to have their children vaccinated or complete the schedule of shots.

Health officials even pointed at the survivors of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) and even the people who were displaced during the Zamboanga siege as among the causes of the outbreak of measles in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other provinces.

The DOH earlier admitted that it was only able to use six percent of its measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines supply in 2013 because parents failed to have their children receive the shots.

Sotto finds the reason of DOH unacceptable because it allowed the vaccines, that were procured using taxpayers’ money, left unused despite of the existing immunization program of the health department.

The deputy minority leader noted that he sees the similar situation with the reproductive health items the DOH will be procuring this year.

According to Sotto the government has allocated P2.8 billion for RH-related items this year and P500 million will be used for the procurement of oral contraceptives.

Sotto said there is a big possibility that family planning supplies will end up just like the unused vaccines that should have prevented the measles outbreak in the country.

“Kulang sila sa information campaign tungkol dun (immunization). Puro sayaw ang alam nila [they (DOH) lack the needed information campaign for immunization. All they do is dance],” Sotto said.

Sotto was referring to last year’s campaign of the DOH against the use of firecrakers which involves Health assistant secretary Eric Tayag, dancing to Katy Perry’s “Roar”.

The campaign of the DOH has resulted in a higher number of firecracker victims compared to last year. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA


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