To help more children have access to routine immunizations, the Church has donated 75 vaccine transport boxes and 670,000 vaccine cards across the Philippines, reported the Church’s Philippines Newsroom.
The Philippines Department of Health officials said more than half of the vaccine-eligible children born during the COVID-19 pandemic — around 1.4 million children — have not had a single vaccine. The National Immunization Program has a goal to immunize 1.5 million children, according to Philippines Newsroom reports.
The vaccine transport boxes “will help in the accessibility and dispatch of the vaccines to their target areas,” said Dr. Kim Patrick Tejano, project manager of the National Immunization Program during the April 21 ceremonial handover of the $200,000 (or Philippines peso $1 million) through Latter-day Saints Charities’ partnership with the Department of Health to support the National Immunization Program. The Department of Health is using the donation primarily for cold-storage vaccine transport boxes and vaccine cards to track vaccines for families.
Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, General Authority Seventy and Philippines Area president, and Elder Steven R. Bangerter, General Authority Seventy and counselor in the area presidency, participated in the handover ceremony.
The boxes could maintain a temperature of negative 25 Celsius, or negative 13 Fahrenheit, for 16 hours, which is helpful for areas where there are no ultra-low freezers for vaccine storage, said Dr. Paula Paz M. Sydiongco, regional director for Department of Health’s Region 1, in a turnover ceremony in La Union, which is north of Baguio on the island of Luzon.
Reneson Sipi-an, National Immunization Program coordinator of the Department of Health Benguet, shared how the vaccine carriers would help barangays, or villages, determined as geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, or GIDA, during the donation ceremony for five transport boxes and 50,000 vaccine cards for the Department of Health Cordillera Administrative Region, Department of Health’s Baguio Health Center, and Department of Health Benguet on March 28, reported the Church’s Philippines Newsroom.
“This donation is a big help in the distribution and transportation of vaccines. The province of Benguet has a high number of GIDA barangays. A hike from sitio to sitio is around two to three hours,” he said of the distance between rural neighborhoods between main villages. “These carriers are beneficial to the potency of the vaccine.”
Deliveries of the boxes and cards were facilitated in each of the department’s 17 areas, said Norman Dolorfino, Latter-day Saint Charities manager, at the Region 8 ceremony.
In Region 1, near La Union, four transport boxes and 3,000 vaccine cards were delivered on April 29. In Region 5, near Legazpi City on the southern end of Luzon, five transport boxes and 50,000 vaccine cards were delivered on April 5. In Region 8, in the Eastern Visayas region, five transport boxes and 50,000 vaccine cards were delivered on March 29. In Region 11, four transport boxes and 3,000 vaccine cards were delivered on March 30, at the Buhangin Stake Center in Davao City, on the southern island of Midanao.
Medical equipment donations
On April 20, the Church donated 1.5 million Philippine pesos, or about U.S. $28,500, in medical equipment and supplies to the Region 1 Medical Center during a ceremony at the Odeum Hospital in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, with Latter-day Saint Charities’ Country Director Jairus Perez and Dr. Edgardo De Vera, the center’s management committee member. Dagupan City is about 218 kilometers, or 135 miles, north of Manilla, and 75 kilometers, or about 47 miles, southwest of Baguio, on the island of Luzon.
The donated items include a B. Braun kidney dialysis machine with one chair, two heated high flow nasal cannulas, three cardiac monitors, three dialysis machine chairs, two heavy-duty suction machines, three portable suction machines, two emergency carts, 30 pulse oximeters, five laryngoscopes, six trolleys, five disinfection lights, and five refrigeration boxes for transporting blood, the Church’s Philippines Newsroom reported.
In March, four turbine high flow nasal cannula and oxygen therapy machines were presented to the Bicol Medical Center in Naga City by Latter-day Saint Charities’ Country Director Jairus Perez on March 3, 2022. The Comen NF5 High Flow Heated Respiratory Humidifiers are to help treat COVID-19 patients, the Philippines Newsroom reported.
The Bicol Medical Center has been the primary COVID-19 treatment center in the region. Naga City is about 410 kilometers, or about 255 miles, southeast of Manila.