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)
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
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)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.