Children are seen in Bawing village in General Santos City. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem)

KORONADAL CITY — A senior regional government official urged Friday parents in Central Mindanao to have their children vaccinated against polio as health officials recently declared an outbreak after the virus re-emerged 19 years after the country was declared free of the disease that leads to paralysis or death.

Cezario Joel Espejo, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – 12 regional director, said he directed Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) field workers to ensure among parent leaders that children below five years of age vaccinated to get rid of the virus. 

Amid polio outbreak declaration, the DSWD signed with local government units in the region a specific implementation agreement for social protection programs on Thursday to ensure health and education needs of children in their areas are provided.

Polio’s symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and sudden onset of floppy arms or legs. A severe case among children younger than five can lead to permanent paralysis or even death.

“Since one of our focuses of 4Ps  is health of our children, parents must understand the importance of vaccination. They should go to the nearest health centers as soon as possible,” Dir. Espejo concluded. (DSWD / Jeoffrey Maitem)