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DOH blames Dengvaxia controversy for 300% increase in measles cases in PH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, November 30th, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines – Measles cases in the country have already reached to more than 17,000 from January to November this year.

Record shows a staggering increase of 367% as compared to the same period in 2017.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the increase is due to the public’s lack of trust and confidence in the government’s immunization programs stemming from the Dengvaxia controversy.

“There had been certain regions that had been affected by the continuing Dengvaxia issue, the Dengvaxia controversy…There is a significant drop in the confidence of our people in the immunization program of the DOH from 92% to measly 33% ; ang laki ng bagsak talaga,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

According to the DOH, since the Dengvaxia immunization became a controversy in the country, many Filipinos now fear getting vaccinated.

Filipinos have also avoided even the trusted vaccines which had long been in use and proven effective.

This is also the reason why measles outbreak which resulted in six death cases was recorded in Zamboanga last February.

In October this year, measles cases in Bicol have also increased to 300%.

On Wednesday (November 28), 18 death cases were recorded in Sarangani province bringing the total to 84 in the province alone.

Most of those affected are between the ages of 4 months to 40 years old; majority of them were females.

The DOH already created an investigating team to monitor the measles cases in Sarangani province. The cases were identified to have originated from the B’laan tribe where vaccination is never practiced.

According to the Duque, these areas are also conflict- affected which is the reason why health services cannot easily reach the residents.

“It’s also NPA-infested and so this is really one of the challenges under the universal health care. This is something that we need to prioritize,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, more than 200 children were immunized in the affected areas to prevent them from being infected with measles.

Common signs and symptoms for suspected measles typically include fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat followed by a rash that spread all over the body. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Police, military hospitals on standby amid national dengue alert

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has tapped the service of military hospitals amid following the declaration of national dengue alert.

According to DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, they have asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be on standby in case the number of dengue cases increases beyond government hospitals’ capacity.

“Ang PNP at ang AFP natin may mga hospitals din naman sila and we have to network with them in case na talagang dumami ang pasyente (The PNP and the AFP also have hospitals and we have to network with them in case the number of patients increases),” Domingo said.

“Halimbawa may mga lugar na malayo sa amin tapos sila may hospital maari kaming makipagtulungan para ma- admit din ang mga pasyente sa mga hospitals nila (There are certain areas beyond our reach where military hospitals are located. We can ask for help to admit the patients there in their hospitals),” he added.

On Wednesday (July 17), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III met with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Health Cluster to discuss measures to curb the sudden rise of dengue infections in the country.

The DOH is in cooperation with other agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in implementing actions in schools to prevent dengue, in educating the public on the dangers of dengue infection, and in coordinating with the local government units in destroying potential breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes in different areas in the country.

“Kailangan talaga sa schools maglinis tayo, ma- educate natin iyong children at iyong parents kung paano iyong dapat natin gawin to prevent itong dengue at tsaka meron tayong changes sa mga patakaran sa school, (We need to have regularly clean up drive in schools and we need to educate the children and the parents on what to do to prevent dengue. Also, we have changes in school regulations,)” the DOH Spokesperson said.

Likewise, among the agencies’ action plans include designation of additional hospital rooms for dengue patients through Philippine Red Cross and the construction of extra hospital tents which can be used for emergency.

Domingo stressed the need to always be alert in providing the medical needs of dengue patients in order to prevent further deaths caused by dengue infection this year.

The DOH advises households to dispose stagnant water and dirty containers where dengue mosquitoes may breed.

Install protections such as window and door screens.

Likewise, do not let your child play or come near areas where mosquitoes are breeding.

Maganda pa rin talaga naka- pantalon at long sleeves ang mga bata para hindi siya makakagat ng lamok (It is better to have your child wear long pants and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites),” Domingo advised.

The DOH, as always, reminds the public to immediately bring the patient to the nearest hospital if symptoms of dengue manifest.

The agency can be reached through the DOH hotline numbers 711-1001 and 711-1002 for inquiry about dengue. — with reports from Aiko Miguel

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DOH eyes vaccinating 9-M schoolchildren

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_080717_HPV VACCINES

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday relaunched its school-based immunization program in a bid to have some 9 million children catch up on missed vaccinations this year.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the program aims to immunize students from kindergarten to Grade 7 with the measles and rubella vaccines. Students will also be given booster doses of tetanus-diptheria vaccines.

Duque led the vaccination of some children in Signal Village National High School in Taguig City on Wednesday morning (July 3).

The DOH chief said all students will undergo a quick health assessment and review of their vaccination status, stressing that only students with parental consent will be immunized.

In a speech, Duque called on parents to have their children vaccinated to protect them against diseases. He also cited the low response rate on the government’s immunization program due to reduced public trust following the dengvaxia controversy.

Although public response and trust in national immunization program has been notably increasing in Metro Manila in the past few months, Duque admitted, much is still needed to be done.

“Mababa pa rin, so iyan po mababa pa rin. That’s why we still need to aggressively pursue our National Immunization Program,” he said.

The DOH’s relaunching of its school-based immunization program comes after the declaration of a measles outbreak in February 2019. The outbreak status has yet to be lifted since its declaration in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Western Visayas and Central Visayas.

According to Duque, they are targeting to reach 95% vaccination coverage this year to prevent repeated declaration of disease outbreaks due to the proliferation of false information.

“May iba umiiyak dahil namatay isa, dalawang anak dahil lang sa ayaw magpabakuna dahil nga bunsod ng maling impormasyon na kumakalat sa mga komunidad at minsan hindi naman talaga naippliwanag ng sapat.. ang nagiging resulta ay ang kaaawa-awang bata na nagkakaroon ng komplikasyon gaya ng measles,” he added.

The health official further emphasized the importance of availing free immunization in relation to the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.

Duque said the school-based immunization program for this year will run until September. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula up by 81%

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, March 18th, 2019

Dengue cases in Zamboanga Peninsula rose to 81 percent, according to the Department of Health (DOH) 9. Cases had reached 1,743 from January 1 to March 7, 2019.

Based on the report of the DOH 9, Zamboanga City reported 719 dengue cases, a 213% increase compared to the same period last year which recorded 230 cases. Zamboanga del Norte, on the other hand, recorded 499 cases which is a 222 percent increase from last year’s 155 cases.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga Sibugay recorded 175 dengue cases; Isabela City , Basilan, 99 cases; and Zamboanga Del Sur with 251.

READ: DOH: even a little water can serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes

The DOH reminds residents to implement the 4-S campaign against dengue and work on controlling the mosquito population.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously said, “The first step to prevent dengue is within our homes. It is important to remove any space or container that can hold unnecessary stagnant water which may become breeding sites for mosquitoes.”—Aileen Cerrudo

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