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DOH lauds increase in immunization response; measles death hits 70

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

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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DOH conducts psychological debriefing for earthquake victims in Porac

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Rescuers rush survivors to safety after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake on April 22, 2019 caused a four-storey supermarket in Porac, Pampanga to collapse

The Department of Health (DOH) has begun conducting psychological debriefing in Porac, Pampanga for victims of the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Luzon and Metro Manila on April 22.

The DOH said that the mental and emotional state of an individual are also severely affected by calamities, hence the need to conduct a psychological debriefing.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained that a victim’s state might worsen if they are not assessed and debriefed by social health workers or barangay health workers.

“Pwedeng humantong sa anxiety attack or panic iyong mga taong nakaranas ng malubhang takot doon habang nangyayari ang lindol. Minsan hindi sila nakakatulog matapos iyon. Iyong post-traumatic, trauma disorder, may solusyon po tayo diyan, ito iyong psycho-social debriefing, (It might lead to anxiety attack or panic. Sometimes, they might experience insomnia. It is called post-traumatic disorder. The solution is psycho-social debriefing)” Duque said.

The health department also advise relatives or friends to assist their loved ones who experienced trauma after a calamity such as an earthquake.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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DOH warns vs testimonials on herbal cure for cancer

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Stock photo from Pixabay

The Department of Health (DOH) warns against testimonials circulating on Facebook about herbal supplements curing cancer.

According to DOH cancer program manager Clarito Cairo, testimonials are weak evidence so they are not considered acceptable.

The DOH made the statement due to reports that some cancer patients preferred to used herbal supplements and stopped taking their medication.

Cairo added that there aren’t enough claim to support that herbal supplements can help in curing cancer.

“There are anecdotes saying that they are proven safe and effective, there’s not enough evidence. And then some patients would go back to their oncologists since they have developed complications,” Cairo said.

A recent study showed that patients using Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) such as herbal supplements had worse survival than patients who did not use CAM.

“Unless we know what’s in [the herbal supplements], I would recommend patients avoid using them during radiation because [certain supplements] could interfere with treatment,” according to Dr. Nina Sanford, one of the authors of the study. — Aileen Cerrudo

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New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

New York City declares public health emergency and orders mandatory vaccination amid rise in measles infection cases in the state. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak.

The declaration will require unvaccinated people living in the affected areas to get the vaccine or face fines.

The city’s largest measles outbreak since 1991 has mainly been confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

285 cases were confirmed since October.

While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care.

All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.

“Today we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area. Department of health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated,” de Blasio said.

“The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It’s crucial for people to understand, the measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested,” he added.

The outbreak is part of a broader resurgence in the United States, with 465 cases reported in 19 states so far this year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (REUTERS)

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