IPHO taps religious leaders to boost vaccine coverage

By Apipa Bagumbaran

Some religious leaders participate in social mobilization training to help in increasing vaccination coverage in Lanao del Sur. (Jason Casas/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) here is stepping up its drive to convince more residents to get themselves vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19.

The IPHO under the leadership of the Bangsamoro government’s Ministry of Health together with development partners USAID ReachHealth Project, RTI, and UNICEF conducted a social mobilization training for Muslim religious leaders on July 28-30, 2022.

The training was aimed to increase the capacity of local influencers to become vaccination champions in their communities to help spread the effectiveness of the vaccine against Covid-19.

IPHO Chief Dr. Alinader Minalang said the religious influencers are well-positioned to reach the grassroots and spread correct information about the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said they also play a crucial role in conveying the teachings of Islam particularly in maintaining good health.

Social mobilization is one of the strategies in the province to boost vaccine coverage and the Bangsamoro region in addition to the PinasLakas campaign, an intensified vaccination and booster drive of the Marcos administration to strengthen the country’s wall of immunity against COVID-19.

As of press time, around 51% of the target population in Lanao del Sur have been vaccinated. Minalang said that although the coverage is highest among the province in the Bangsamoro region, they are still far from achieving the target herd immunity which is 80% of the eligible population.

Minalang reminded Lanao del Sur residents to continue heeding the government’s health protocols to contain the spread of Covid-19. He also urged them to get vaccinated and boosted to keep their guard
against the coronavirus.

The IPHO chief’s assistant, Dr. Apasrah Mapupuno, also voiced the same call encouraging residents to strengthen their immune response through vaccination and booster shots adding that the pandemic is not yet over.

“We are calling everybody na tumulong, i-encourage natin yung ating mga kasamahan na sila din po ay magpabakuna. Yung nakakuha na po ng dalawang primary series ng bakuna ay kailangan na din pong magpabooster dose. Hindi tayo pwedeng maging complacent at magbalik sa ating normal na mga buhay hanggang di tayo nababakunahan,” she further said.

[We are calling everybody to help, let’s encourage our colleagues to also get vaccinated. Those who have already received two primary series of vaccines must also get a booster dose. We cannot be complacent and return to our normal lives until we are vaccinated.] (APB/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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