DOH blames Dengvaxia controversy for 300% increase in measles cases in PH
Marje Pelayo • November 30, 2018 • 3863
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)
The world is backsliding in the fight against measles, which can disable or kill, especially children, with a record number of cases recorded up to August only since 2006 and nearly three times as many cases than in July 2018 at that time, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday (August 30).
The biggest outbreaks of the highly contagious disease — one person with measles can spread it up to 18 non-immunized other people — are raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (155,460 cases), Madagascar (127,454) and Ukraine (54,246) it said.
Europe has lost ground also, with four countries stripped off their “measles-free” status in 2018 — Albania, Czech Republic, Greece, and Britain, the WHO said.
The United States has recorded 1,215 measles cases across 30 states in its worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.
Nearly 365,000 cases have been reported globally this year, the highest figure since 2006, according to the U.N. Health Agency, noting that they represent only a fraction of the 6.7 million estimated cases annually.
A vaccine-preventable disease, measles caused an estimated 109,000 deaths in 2017, figures for 2018 won’t be known before November.
Weak health systems, a lack of vaccines in some areas, and complacency towards the disease, leading people to believe that since it has been eliminated there is no need to get vaccinated, are behind the surge, the WHO says.
Trust in vaccines — one of the world’s most effective and widely-used medical products — is highest in poor countries but weaker in wealthier ones where skepticism has allowed outbreaks of diseases such as measles to persist, a global study found in June.
In 53 countries of Europe, 90,000 measles cases were recorded in the first half of this year, more than that for all of 2018, according to the WHO. (REUTERS)
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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