ILOILO CITY -- The incidence of measles in Western Visayas has reached alarming levels with 170 cases and three suspected deaths recorded as of Dec. 6 by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) 6.
Dr. Mary Jane Roches Juanico, medical coordinator for the child health program, said that last month, they recorded 130 cases, with 29 from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Bacolod.
“The cases are under investigation. We are waiting for the results if indeed they are measles cases,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of the DOH regional recognition of partners and stakeholders held at the Eon Centennial Resort in Alta Tierra in Jaro district this city on Friday.
Juanico said they have used various strategies to address the concern, including the door-to-door campaign.
The DOH-CHD 6 in October launched the supplemental immunization activity for measles rubella and oral polio vaccine (MR-OPV). The first phase was rolled out in 25 areas in Western Visayas, covering 339,183 children.
However, at the end of the one-month activity, they only covered 43 percent of their target population.
Records showed that 145,255 children, aged six to 59 months, were vaccinated for measles and rubella and 147,055 were administered the OPV.
“We are still doing catch up for those children that we have missed until Dec. 14,” she said.
She said that during their program implementation review on Dec. 6, they shared that they “really had a challenge in terms of social mobilization and advocacy, campaigning for the high turnout.”
“It is mainly because of the refusal of our parents or caregivers due to the Dengvaxia scare. Our confidence rating in terms of the immunization program is not that good,” she said.
Some also claimed that they still have to confer with their private pediatrician because they are questioning the safety of the vaccine.
“We know that measles rubella and OPV vaccines have been with us in the past three decades. We really call on our parents and caregivers that measles is dangerous in terms of fatality and complications,” she said.
The second phase that will be administered during the first and second quarter of 2019 will cover 42 areas or those that are considered as bordering areas or with highest number of missed children. The second phase will cover 258,443 children. (PNA)
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