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DOH lauds increase in immunization response; measles death hits 70

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, 11 February 2019 05:24 PM

Healthcare workers administering vaccinations

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the return of public trust in government immunization program especially amid the ongoing outbreak of measles infection in the country.

“Ako po’y natutuwa na ang mga magulang po ngayon mukhang nagbabago na ang kanilang pananaw patungkol po sa ating immunization program ng DOH,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Chona Palen did not hesitate to have her daughter vaccinated since the outbreak of measles was declared.

Chona said she wants to make sure her children are protected especially the youngest who is nine months old.

“Talagang nag-aalala po talaga ako sa mga anak ko kasi tatlo iyong anak ko. Itong bunso talagang gusto ko talagang pabakunahan,” she said.

Based on the latest data from DOH, measles infection in the country reached to 4,302 cases and 70 deaths from January 1 to February 9, 2019.

The highest number of infection remains in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,296 and 18 deaths, followed by Calabarzon with 1,086 cases and 25 deaths; Central Luzon with 481 cases and 3 deaths; Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths; and Northern Mindanao with 189 cases and five deaths.

Most of the patients were children aged four and below, with 66% having no vaccination history since birth.

Duque explained that health experts do not recommend measles vaccination to infants 0 to five months old.

It can only be given to children from nine months old and above, and a booster when they reach 12 to 15 months old.

“Kasi mura pa iyong kanilang immune system,” Duque said.

“Pangalawa, meron kasing maraming pag-aaral na lumalabas mayroon silang natural immunity, not really immunity but a protection —immunoglobulin (IGG). From the maternal circulation pumupunta sa bata as a protective antibody,” he added.

Duque said that the only solution when the patient is that young is to isolate the infant infected with measles.

“Iyon lang ang solution natin, isolation lang talaga kung mayroon na and let the body take care of its own,” the DOH secretary said.

The DOH assured that the country has enough supply of measles vaccine this outbreak season.

Thus, it encourages parents to bring their children to the nearest health center for immunization before its too late. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Measles outbreak to persist until June – Health Experts

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:35 PM


Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (center) making hospital rounds since the declaration of a measles outbreak

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Health experts from the Philippine College of Physicians warned that measles outbreak might persist until the month of June.

According to Dr, Nimfa Putong, an expert on infectious disease from the San Lazaro Hospital, the number of measles cases rise during the onset of the dry season based on the trend of measles infections recorded last year.

This observation is similar to that of the Department of Health (DOH) when Health Secretary Francisco Duque III projected that measles outbreak might peak in the month of March.

As of this report, the DOH cannot tell yet as to when the outbreak will be declared under control as the number has already skyrocketed to over 4,000 cases and 70 deaths.

Due to the outbreak, the DOH has allowed infants age six months and up to receive the measles vaccination.

The previous age was nine months old.

The agency assured that the government has enough supply of measles vaccine which is made available in local health centers and DOH accredited hospitals across the country. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Mass immunization set across Bulacan amid measles outbreak

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 01:30 PM

BULACAN, Philippines – Due to the continuous rise in measles cases, the Bulacan Provincial government together with the Department of Health (DOH) Region 3 will hold a mass immunization in all 596 barangays in the province.

Measles cases across Bulacan have already reached 286 in the month of January alone; a more than 3,000% increase to last year’s seven cases during the same month.

The highest number recorded was in San Jose del Monte with 48; Baliuag with 33; Bocaue with 32; and Marilao with 21.

The infection already killed six infants age five months and below.

The situation prompted the local government unit (LGU) to intensify its Oplan Ligtas Tigdas program which was recently launched in the municipality of Malolos through the collaboration of the DOH Region 3 and the Bulacan Health Office, and the LGU.

All heads of barangays and health workers were directed to make rounds in communities to administer the immunization especially to babies who have no records of vaccination.

“Kailangan po namin ang pakiisa ninyo. (Mag) house to house. Ang target po natin ay ang mga nasa bahay wether they’re kinder,or day care (level) pero 1 month old or 6 months old. Ang kailangan po natin dito ay tulong ng mga kapitan,” appealed Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado.

In response, heads of barangays vowed to support the program for their respective constituents.

“Pupuntahan namin ang mga bahay-bahay per purok, may mga barangay health workers, volunteers,” assured Barangay Calumpit chairman Eugenio Garsota.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wilbert Ilerya of Pulilan Municipal Health Office suggested a schedule for the immunization program per barangay to avoid further spread of the infection.

He also stressed that once the mass immunization is launched, the local health center should make sure that there is enough supply of vaccines.

 This is a time of outbreak, kailangan may maibibigay na bakuna, para mahinto mo na yung paglaganap nung ng kaso ng measles,” Ilerya said.

The Health Regional Office, meanwhile, assured that there will be enough supply of vaccine for every barangay but in case of shortage, they can always ask for additional supply from the provincial health office.

As of now, wala po tayong kulang sa mga bakuna. Sapat papo ang ating bilang, If ever magkukulang man po we could always request from the
Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)  to give another batch of vaccine from regular vaccination natin,” assured Dr. Shiela Mae Geronimo, DOH-3’s Development Management Officer 4.

Based on DOH-Region 3 records, Pampanga remains the highest in number of measles cases with 652; Bulacan with 560; and Tarlac with 333 cases.

DOH calls on the seven provinces in Region 3 to put up an isolation ward in every district and provincial hospitals to accommodate measles-infected patients.

We are having an outbreak at a regional level and the Bulacan level. We need to have isolation areas of all the hospital that we have whether it is level 1,2,3 hospital,” Geronimo emphasized. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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Duterte orders ‘vigorous’ immunization campaign amid measles outbreak

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 7 February 2019 04:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to intensify the government’s immunization program following the declaration of measles outbreak in Metro Manila and in different parts of the country.

“The president ordered the vigorous campaign to complete the immunization for children. I think one of the reasons why we have an outbreak of measles is because of the lack of immunization on the part of children,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The Department of Health (DOH) has called on other agencies to help intensify information dissemination regarding the government’s immunization programs.

Apart from Metro Manila, the DOH also declared measles outbreak in Calabarzon region, Central Luzon, and it Western and Central Visayas.

Based on the latest count of the DOH, the number of measles cases has hit 1,674 in the entire country in January 2019 alone.

This is a 550% increase from the mere 20 cases during the same period in 2018.

Currently, the DOH is closely monitoring the situation in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, MIMAROPA, and the Bicol region to prevent further rise in number of measles cases.

“We are expanding the outbreak from Metro Manila to other regions as cases have increase in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant,” Duque noted. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz / Joan Nano)

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