Sulu residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Sulu residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19

In some parts of Mindanao, COVID-19 continues to be a threat. This includes Sulu province, where many residents live in remote areas impacted by inclement weather conditions, armed conflicts, and unreliable electric supply, all of which hamper the delivery of basic health services.
Article 17 October 2022 Philippines

As a result, only about 28.88% of the province's target population have been vaccinated against COVID as of May 2022, according to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Ministry of Health. Controlling the spread of the virus requires that everyone is included in vaccination efforts.

In line with this, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) - Sulu announced yesterday their commitment to ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the province's geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. The ICRC will support health authorities in the setting up of mobile vaccination sites in areas of low vaccine coverage, including detention facilities.

Dr. Farah Tan-Omar, Chief of the Sulu Integrated Provincial Health Office, and Arshid Amin Khan, Head of ICRC Zamboanga Sub Structure, sign a memorandum of agreement in connection with the ICRC's COVID-19 vaccination support in Zamboanga City. © Derkie Alfonso / ICRC 

ICRC donated items such as syringes, personal protective equipment, health communication materials, electronic equipment, rickshaw vehicles, and resources for mobile teams that will go to municipalities located on various islands. All these are expected to help ramp up the vaccination in Sulu.

"I am happy to see this MoA push through today. The ICRC handed over significant material support to the IPHO Sulu for its COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This support will enhance the capacity of IPHO Sulu to vaccinate more people, especially those living in far-flung areas," says Arshid Amin Khan, Head of the ICRC Sub-Delegation in Zamboanga after the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).

Dr. Farah Tan-Omar, Chief of IPHO Sulu says, "We are very thankful for this partnership with ICRC, an organization that protects victims of armed conflicts and assists areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICRC has been a reliable partner of IPHO Sulu and the MoA we signed today strengthens our partnership." 

The ICRC turned over 19 units of tuk-tuk (tricycles) and 21 units of laptops to the IPHO Sulu after the MoA signing.

From left: Sulu IPHO Chief Dr. Farah Tan-Omar, ICRC Head of Sub Structure Arshid Khan, and Michael Angelo Guiroy, ICRC Health Field Officer.
© Derkie Alfonso / ICRC

The ICRC has also provided support for the local governments of Maguindanao province, Cotabato City, Lanao del Norte, and Region XIII (Caraga).

The ICRC supports the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in the mobilization of vaccination teams and a government mobile vaccination bus in Mindanao, including places of detention. PRC chapters in at least 11 cities and provinces in Mindanao have been augmenting their local government with mobile vaccination teams and support staff to reach more communities. Three fixed-site vaccination centers in the cities of Iligan, Zamboanga and Davao have been supported as well.

The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance, regardless of their political affiliation.