Boost public health –– partylist

February 07, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

Anakalusugan backs DU30’s vigorous campaign to promote gov’t vaccination program.

THE Department of Health must intensify its efforts to promote the vaccination of children after a measles outbreak was declared in Metro Manila, the party-list group Anakalusugan said.

With 55 deaths – all children between 3 months and 4 years old – recorded in the National Capital Region last month, Anakalusugan said the DOH should respond quickly and efficiently to address the outbreak.

The group threw its support behind the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte after Wednesday evening’s Cabinet meeting to order a vigorous campaign to promote the complete immunization for children who are most vulnerable to diseases such as measles.

“DOH data show there are at least 2.4 million children who have not received measles vaccination. This is simply unacceptable. We have to address people’s fear of vaccination as this could result in the outbreak of other diseases,” Anakalusugan nominee Mike Defensor said.

“While it is the primary duty of parents to protect their children’s health, the government, through the Department of Health, should not be complacent in promoting complete immunization. They should have already seen the trend last year when measles cases increased by more than 1,000 percent,” he added.

In 2018, at least 3,646 measles cases were recorded in NCR compared to only 351 in 2017.

From January 1 to 19 this year, the number of measles in Metro Manila reached 196, higher by 550 percent than the 20 cases recorded for the same period last year.

The DOH has placed the following regions “under tight watch” for measles: Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, CAR, and Caraga.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the department declared an outbreak “to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be vigilant.”

Duque said immunization and Vitamin A supplementation for 9-month old children remain the best defenses against measles.

The World Health Organization has warned that if the low immunization rate was not addressed, the Philippines is also in danger of seeing a reemergence of diseases such as polio.

“We are very concerned about the situation because there are many cases of measles that could have been avoided if we had achieved higher vaccination coverage,” said WHO country representative Gundo Weiler.