DOH warns of possible measles outbreak in 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2020   •   172

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the fight against the novel coronavirus disease, the Department of Health (DOH) said it is also preparing for a possible measles outbreak next year.

According to DOH National Immunization Program Manager Dr. Maria Wilda Silva, they are seeing a massive outbreak of measles in 2021 due to low public response to the agency’s immunization campaign.

Silva said the DOH vaccination program only reached around 67 percent, and that those who have missed the immunization would be susceptible to the measles infection.

There is also an ongoing recirculation of polio virus in communities.

She said an estimated 2.4 million children under the age of five are facing risk of infection from measles and polio.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. It can cause high-grade fever, rashes, cough, eye infection and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, blindness, severe diarrhea, and swelling of the brain.

Polio, on the other hand, is a potentially debilitating disease that causes fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and can eventually lead to lifelong paralysis.

If severe enough, both diseases can ultimately lead to death.

The DOH said there is no specific treatment for these illnesses and that the only reliable protection is through vaccination.

To avert a possible outbreak, the department said it will roll out a supplemental immunization activity against measles, rubella, and polio starting Oct. 26.

Under the immunization program, children aged 9 to 59 months old will be given measles-rubella vaccine while 0 to 59 months old will be provided with oral polio vaccine.

The health department said the program will be rolled out in two phases – phase 1 will be conducted from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25 in Mindanao, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley Region, MIMAROPA Region, and Bicol Region; while phase 2 will be held in February 2021 in Visayas, National Capital Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon.

The DOH said the vaccination activity will be conducted in a modified site with health workers donning personal protective equipment due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.

Parents and caregivers are urged to have their children immunized to protect them from measles, polio, and rubella. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Ombudsman suspends 5 DOH officials for delay in release of frontliner benefits

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a preventive suspension against five Department of Health (DOH) officials for the alleged delays in the release of frontliner benefits.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the order on Tuesday (October 27) to preventively suspend for six months Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an; Kenneth Ronquillo, Maylene Beltran, Laureano Cruz and Esperanza Carating.

The order is to prevent the officials from potentially tampering with documents or evidence while an investigation on the health department is ongoing.

The investigation was opened in June to look into the alleged delay in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical gears, alleged lapses that led to the rising number of health workers infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), inaction to the release of financial benefits for fallen medical workers, as well as confusing and delayed reports of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The DOH previously welcomed the said investigation and assured they will fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities. AAC

New COVID-19 cases in PH hits 1,509, total cases reached 362,243

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2020

The Philippines records a total of 1,509 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with 362,243 total cases, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday (October 21).

The DOH also recorded 60 deaths and 911 recoveries. The day’s recorded recoveries brought the total number to 311,506.

Based on DOH COVID-19 Case Bulletin no. 221, 90% of the total daily cases occurred within the recent 14 days, while the top regions in the recent two weeks are in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 320 cases, and Region 4A with 297 cases.

The DOH also added that 41 duplicates were removed from the total case count. Thirty-one recovered cases and three deaths have also been removed from the list.

The University of the Philippines Octa Research Team said there are still areas with high COVID-19 cases since October 11, based on their research. These areas include several areas in the National Capital Region (NCR), Pasig, Makati, Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Marikina.

Meanwhile, DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 60-70% of the country’s population should be vaccinated against COVID-19 for herd immunity.

“It doesn’t stop there because we would need 60-70% of the population immunized so we can have herd immunity. So when we talk about P12.5 billion that is just covering our population,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH logs 2,502 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health or DOH on Sunday reported that the total number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases nationwide is now at 339,341.

This, after 2,502 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list of COVID-19 patients.

The DOH has also announced 17,057 recoveries recorded as of 4 pm on Sunday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 293,075.

In an advisory, the department also said that of Sunday’s 2,502 reported cases, 2,106 (84%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 28 – October 11, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were NCR (650 or 31%), Region 4A (492 or 23%) and Region 3 (203 or 10%), the advisory further said.

Eighty-three (83) deaths were also recorded Sunday, bringing the total of fatalities to 6.321.

The department also recorded 87 duplicates that were removed from the total case count. Of these, 35 were recovered cases.

It added that the 41 cases previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths. —/mbmf

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