Anne Curtis wants immunization prioritized vs measles outbreak

09 February, 2019, 22:27 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • Measles outbreak declared in Philippines

The Philippines health department on Thursday declared an outbreak of measles in the capital Manila and nearby areas, after the disease left dozens dead.

The Department of Health said that it will immediately conduct mass immunization against measles to all children in Region 4-A or the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon area.

Parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, after complications related to a dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

The Department of Health declared an outbreak in Central Visayas on Thursday stating with 96 cases recorded for January 2019 alone.

Dr. Mary Jane Juanico, medical coordinator of the regional health office's Child Health Program, said they still have to determine if the deaths were caused by measles.

A study past year (2018) by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said public confidence in vaccines in the Philippines plunged to 32 per cent from 93 per cent in 2015 because of the government's "highly politicised" response to the Dengvaxia scare. This led the DOH to suspend its immunisation programme that had begun under then President Benigno Aquino III.

Duque has sought to assure parents that the vaccination for measles is not similar to the Dengvaxia vaccine. "Supportive measures like building the nutritional status of the sick person and increasing oral rehydration are important measures to increase body resistance and replace lost body fluids caused by coughing, diarrhea, and perspiration", Duque said.

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Of the 11 measles cases confirmed this year, eight were imported, four from Vietnam and the Philippines each, and three indigenous cases, it indicated.

The World Health Organisation in November 2018 warned that measles cases globally had jumped more than 30 per cent in 2017 compared to the previous year, in part because of children not being vaccinated.

"Vaccinations to prevent measles is available free of cost in government health centers".

But she reminded parents yesterday that immunity from diseases is "the best inheritance" they could leave their children.

"I think it might be questioned before the courts somehow", he said.

A year ago under the routine immunization strategy, the coverage reached 54 percent or 113,209 children out of 210,291 target.

The country's Public Attorney's Office indicted government officials in connection with deaths linked to the vaccine. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also came to the defense of Acosta, saying she was just doing her job helping the families of children who died supposedly after being inoculated with the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.

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