By Claire Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–Humanitarian and development organizations have united in pursuit of intensifying the PinasLakas campaign of the national government in the communities of the province of Lanao del Sur which aims to inoculate booster shots to at least 50% of the 12 years old and above target population and complete the first and second doses of 90% of senior citizens.
Among the non-government organizations joining forces were the Save the Children Philippines, Raheemah Peace Weavers Producer Cooperative, and the Research Triangle Institute which is funded by the United States Agency International Development (USAID).
The Save the Children Philippines led the initiative through its project dubbed Routine Immunization for Children: A Lifeline Interrupted by COVID-19, intending to inoculate eight areas in the province, including Marawi City, and the towns of Piagapo, Saguiran, Marantao, Balindong, Malabang, Marogong and Tamparan.
The Raheemah Peace Weavers Producer Cooperative, being the implementing partner of Save the Children Philippines and in charge of all the coordination on the ground, explained that the areas of coverage were highlighted primarily because of the low vaccination turnout.
However, apart from the COVID-19 vaccine shots, other immunizations were likewise administered as accordingly, these were also impacted during the pandemic era.
“Itong areas na ito ay napili dahil mababa ang vaccination rate ng COVID-19. Ang kaibahan lang nito from other projects, kasi marami rin ang development partners na may COVID-19 programs sa Lanao del Sur, ang sa Save the Children ay kasama na ang routine immunization kasi noong nagstart si COVID-19, affected ang ating routine immunization,” said Raheemah Peace Weavers Producer Cooperative Project Officer Apasrah Bani.
[These areas were chosen because of the low vaccination rate for COVID-19. The difference of this from other projects, is since many development partners also have programs for COVID-19 in Lanao del Sur, Save the Children incorporated routine immunization considering that when COVID-19 started, routine immunization was also affected.]
Save the Children Philippines Project Officer Felipe Lambayan then stressed that they were pushing for this endeavor as this is to help children have safe access to schools as the in-person classes open anew after being temporarily halted for two years due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Tugunan natin ang karapatan ng mga anak na mabigyan ng tamang kalusugan, makaiwas sa sakit at ligtas na makabalik sa skwela,” he said.
[Let us address the rights of our children to have the right health, avoid illnesses and safely go back to school.]
USAID Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Associate Consultant Tayan Piiang underscored, on the other hand, that they collaborated with some of their fellow humanitarian and development organizations as this was timely in realizing their mission of boosting the COVID-19 vaccination rate in Lanao del Sur province.
“Si USAID ay may project na COVID-19 response. Isa sa focus ni USAID ay ang Bangsamoro region. Entire Philippines ito. Ang main aim nito is mapababa ang COVID-19 cases kung hindi man fully maaddress ito, and we have to ensure the safety of learners when going back to schools,” she said.
[USAID has a project for the COVID-19 response. One of the focuses of USAID is the Bangsamoro region. This is for the entire Philippines. The main aim of this is to make the COVID-19 cases lower if not fully addressed, and we have to ensure the safety of learners when going back to school.]
During this undertaking, vaccinated learners received school supplies and hygiene kits from Save the Children Philippines, and kiddie meals from USAID.
Humanitarian and development organizations also closely coordinated with the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), and the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) through its Rural Health Unit (RHU). (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)