FOLLOWING the upsurge in the number of measles cases in Benguet, a site for measles and Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccination campaign known as the “Oplan Culex” was initiated by Department of Health (DOH) Cordillera, Benguet Provincial Health Office (PHO), and Benguet General Hospital (BeGH).
For the entire month of March beginning on March 4, the BeGH will provide free vaccination.
The measles mass immunization covers children aged six months to 59 months while immunization against JE targets more than 40,000 children aged nine months to 59 months.
Antonette Agpas, PHO Medical Health Officer III, said the JE campaign was conceptualized last year.
With the increase in cases of measles, she added a measles vaccination was also made available to the public.
Additional nurses will be deployed to the different municipalities of the province to help carry out mass vaccination.
As of March 3, PHO recorded some 93 suspected cases of measles in the province.
Benguet Governor Crescencio Pacalso also directed the Disease Surveillance Units (DSUs) in the province through Executive Order no. 2019-005 signed on February 28 for all Benguet DSUs tasked to enhance measles surveillance, undertake, implement preventive and pro-active measures and support the measles mass immunization to effectively address the increasing number of measles cases.
"To effectively enhance measles surveillance, timely reporting is required, a daily monitoring, recording and reporting is mandated to all DSUs to the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit," the executive order reads. "There is a need to issue an order for an enhanced measles surveillance and to undertake and implement preventive and proactive measures."
In his recent visit to Baguio City last February 23, Department of Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an urged parents to have their child vaccinated through the immunization program against various preventable diseases.
"We are really telling the public, most especially the mothers that we are encouraging them to have their children immunize from six months to 59 months. We are now having the new immunization disease the Japanese encephalitis which is up in the Cordillera," said Tong-an.
JE is a serious disease that may cause death. The disease is spread through mosquito bites. The mosquito aedes aegypti, known as the yellow fever mosquito can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever virus and other disease agents.