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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is calling on all local government units (LGUs) to be proactive partners in the conduct of nationwide immunization campaign to address the measles outbreak.
In Memorandum Circular 2019-47, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año enjoins LGUs to support the Department of Health's (DOH) Nationwide Immunization Campaign and other actions to curb the spike of measles cases in the Philippines.
"The measles outbreak was fueled by a scare which can be corrected through intensive information dissemination. The nationwide immunization campaign is a vehicle for us to reverse the measles outbreak and we turn to our LGUs to be our partners in encouraging parents to have their children immunized," Año said in a statement.
He also encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, emphasizing the safety of children is of utmost importance.
The DILG chief has directed LGUs to provide necessary support for the department’s anti-measles drive to ensure its successful conduct and implementation; ensure active participation of health workers and other officials; and encourage their constituents to bring all suspected measles cases to the nearest health facility for early treatment and proper case management, among others.
According to Año, LGUs must commit and intensify its efforts to help mitigate the ballooning number of measles cases.
"Let's not wait for another death. For the longest time, we have measles under control, and we can do it again through the LGUs' proactive involvement and cooperation of the communities," he said.
Latest official data from the DOH showed there are almost 23,000 cases of measles as of March 19 this year, a number highly exceeding last year's 2,393 reported cases.
"These numbers are alarming even for our President which is why decisive actions must be instituted before it gets out of hand," Año says.
Año also emphasized that LGUs may use 70 percent of the their Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) for expenses relative to the immunization campaign and other actions to address the growing number of measles cases.In the same memorandum, LGUs must coordinate with the DOH's Center for Development Health Regional Office and other agencies to ensure appropriate information dissemination down to the communities; and guarantee that all DOH measles advisories and other information, education, and campaign materials are disseminated to all families and households.
The DILG has also asked LGUs to extend their immunization schedules beyond regular working hours and possibly even on Saturdays and Sundays to accommodate as many as possible.