Philippine President Benigno Aquino said Monday the government would vaccinate 700,000 babies this year to protect them from a virus that causes diarrhoea, a killer disease ravaging poor communities.
While diarrhoea is a preventable disease, Aquino said health authorities had struggled to stop outbreaks from happening with many poor communities having no access to basic medical care.
"In the Philippines alone, thousands of children suffer from diarrhoea each year, with over 3,500 cases leading to death," Aquino said.
"For this year, 700,000 infants from families listed in our national household targeting system will be vaccinated," he said.
He said the vaccines would address infections from rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in babies and children aged five and below.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), diarrhoea is the third leading cause of child illness and the fourth leading cause of deaths among children less than five years in the Philippines.