THE Department of Health (DOH) in Northern Mindanao has collaborated with other government agencies in a bid to address the increase of measles cases in the region.
Under Department Circular 2019-0051, released by DOH central office, the Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Interior and Local Government will be included to prevent further transmission of measles through conduct of mass measles and polio vaccination campaign.
The collaboration will help strengthen their campaign to fight against measles, particularly achieving their targets such as the children beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of DSWD and the community-based six to 59 months old children and school-based kindergarten to grade six pupils, who are the priority for measles vaccination according to the Department Circular 2019-0051.
According to DOH-Northern Mindanao's data, a total of 1,055 individuals in the region has been affected by measles with 10 recorded deaths from January to March 15 of this year.
The data further showed that of the five provinces in Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon recorded with the highest cases of measles with 443 cases and three deaths. This is followed by Cagayan de Oro City with 204 cases and six deaths, Misamis Oriental with 199 cases and one death, Lanao del Norte with 102 cases, Misamis Occidental with 74 cases, Iligan City with 30 cases, and Camiguin with three cases.
Dr. David Mendoza of DOH-Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon holds the highest recorded measles cases due to Lumads or Indigenous People living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.
At present, Mendoza said that the DOH is focusing their efforts to deliver the vaccines to these areas as part of their drive to prevent further increase of measles cases.
The DOH also assured that the vaccines are safe and effective as it has been used for decades.
“Ang atong (our) measles vaccine has been used for more than two to three decades already. It has been there. Ang atong bakuna (our vaccine), it's already proven, safe, effective and libre (free),” Mendoza said.
“We've been doing advocacy, and we've been doing all these things for a long time. So nakita namo (we have seen that) it’s really safe and it has been effective,” he added.
The City Health Office (CHO) of Cagayan de Oro City, for their part, encouraged everyone to have their children vaccinated and for sick children, be it measles, dengue, or others, to be taken to the nearest health center for treatment and proper management of illness.
“Measles can cause death. Vaccine is the only way in preventing the disease in an individual. Have your children vaccinated at the nearest health center,” Dr. Joey Retuya, the head of CHO, said.