NEARLY 27K GET MEASLES VACCINES IN REGION 8 SINCE JAN. 1
Department of Health (DOH) officials leading an immunization in Palo, Leyte. (DOH photo)
TACLOBAN CITY — The national government’s intensified measles immunization program has reached out to nearly 27,000 recipients in Eastern Visayas this year, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday.
Majority or 23,183 of those who were vaccinated from Jan. 1 to Feb. 25 are children six to 59 months old while 3,762 are above the target age group who are exposed to persons infected with measles and highly vulnerable such as health workers.
DOH Eastern Visayas information officer John Paul Roca said more children could have been reported as vaccine recipients since other local government units failed to document their response after the declaration of the measles outbreak in the region.
“We have formed a team to conduct rapid assessment to validate reports of activities in the local government,” Roca told reporters.
Among the team members are officials from the Department of Education, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Red Cross, Office of Civil Defense, among others.
Immunization for measles has been carried out every day in local government units down to village level through house-to-house and fixed site approach.
Health workers invite parents to bring their children to gymnasiums, village health centers, rural health centers, and village halls. The targets are ages six to 59 months, including pre-school and Grades 1 to 6.
The DOH official said the regional office has enough vaccines to augment the needs of local government units. The health department targets to reach out to 96 percent of the children’s population.
Elaine Villarosa, DOH Eastern Visayas national immunization program manager said that aside from Dengvaxia scare, many mothers have lost their appreciation on the value of immunization due to the absence of measles outbreak in the region for several years.
“It is really an opportunity for us to do something and encourage mothers to bring their child to immunization. I wish this will be the last measles outbreak because the 20 deaths is not a joke. These are not figures but real babies,” Villarosa said.
Measles immunization provided by the government for free saves children’s lives as it prevents them from becoming seriously ill.
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 25, at least 20 children in the region died from measles while 662 others have been downed by this viral disease.
Of the 20 deaths, five were reported in Tacloban City; four in Palo, Leyte; and two in Dagami, Leyte.
Other areas with one death each are the towns of Alangalang, Pastrana, and San Miguel in Leyte; Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, Gandara, San Jose De Buan, and Pinabacdao in Samar; and Borongan City in Eastern Samar.
Measles which is a highly contagious viral disease remains one of the top causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, according to the World Health Organization.
The disease is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.
Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10 to 12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.
Several days later, rashes will develop, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards. (PNA)