Over 3 in 4 measles cases found in Metro Manila, 2 others

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Monday, September 1, 2014


MORE than three in every four measles cases in the country can be found in Metro Manila as well as in Calabarzon and Central Luzon, based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH).

Based on the data of the DOH, a total of 12,585 of the 16,214 (77.6 percent) confirmed measles cases recorded from January 1 to July 5 were found in the three regions.

Majority of the cases came from the National Capital Region (NCR) with 5,494; followed by Region 4-A (Calabarzon) with 4,555; and Region 3 (Central Luzon) with 2,536.

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Because of this, the DOH has launched the "Ligtas sa Tigdas at Polio Mass Immunization Campaign", which aims to vaccinate a combined total of 13 million children across the country for the whole of September.

The target is to give measles-rubella (MR) vaccination to 11 million children aged nine months to 59 months, and oral polio vaccine (OPV) to 13 million children from birth to 59 months.

The health department said that it decided to include the oral polio vaccine in the campaign in response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) declaration of polio as a public health emergency of international concern.

This is despite the country being polio-free since the year 2000 after the last recorded case in 1993.

"The goal is to achieve 95 percent coverage for the MR-OPV vaccines at all administrative levels in one month," said DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin in a press briefing.

For the entire month, the DOH is holding a nationwide measles immunization and oral polio vaccination campaign in all health centers in the country, from Mondays to Fridays.

And for those that will not be reached by the vaccination, Garin said health workers are set to hold "mop-up" operations beginning the middle of the month.

"A house-to-house operation shall be conducted in areas that are still far from the 95 percent coverage target to vaccinate the 'missed' children to ensure that all will be vaccinated," said Garin.

And in a bid to encourage the public to take advantage of the program, no less than President Aquino spearheaded the call for parents of children below five years old to ensure that their children will benefit from the free vaccination for measles and rubella (German measles), and oral vaccine for polio.

In his speech during the launch of the campaign on Monday at the DOH Convention Hall in Manila, Aquino strongly urged parents and guardians to give their cooperation in the government’s program versus measles, rubella, and polio.

"Gagawin ng DOH ang lahat ng makakaya niya. Pero, siyempre, kailangan tayo makipagtulungan sa lahat ng LGUs at pinaka-importante po ay yung mga magulang ng sanggol, sa mga naga-aruga at gumagabay sa kanilang mga anak na siyang talagang manguna para masiguradong mabakunahan ang lahat ng ating kabataan at talagang mailigtas sila sa mga sakit na hindi naman kailangan. Mangyayari ito kung tayo ay magtutulungan," said Aquino.

"We urge all mothers and caregivers to bring their children, regardless of their vaccination status, from newborns to below five years old, to the nearest health centers to have them vaccinated against measles, rubella, and polio," added Health Secretary Enrique Ona in a press briefing.

The health chief said that the average cost for treating a measles case range from P15,000 to P30,000 depending on the case, if it has already resulted to complications like blindness, diarrhea, encephalitis, and pneumonia, among others.

On the other hand, Ona said the DOH will only be spending P31 per child for the MR vaccine, while every OPV costs P8 only. (Sunnex)

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