Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

DOH declares measles outbreak in NCR - Philippines

DOH declares measles outbreak in NCR - Philippines

The Department of Health has recorded at least 14 deaths due to measles in different regions, while the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila has reported 55 since January.

The United Nations children's agency UNICEF on Friday urged Filipino parents to have their children vaccinated amid the measles outbreak in several regions in the country. "We are expanding the outbreak from Metro Manila to the other regions as cases have increased in the past weeks and to strengthen surveillance of new cases and alert mothers and caregivers to be more vigilant", Duque said.

In addition to the NCR area, health officials are also closely monitoring the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa (Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Cordillera region, and Caraga for measles.

In 2018, the vaccinations also reached only 60 percent at the height of the dengvaxia scare which Corpin attributes to the rapid rise of measles cases on the same year which reached 28 cases in Cebu City.

Four hundred forty one cases were reported in metropolitan Manila, which spans 16 cities and one town, a 1,125 per cent increase from past year. This prompted the DOH to suspend its immunisation programme, which was launched by then President Benigno Aquino III.

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The health department and public health advocates blamed the measles outbreak on a massive health scare over Dengvaxia, the once-promising dengue vaccine introduced by the government three years ago.

"Our children are protected so there is no cause for concern", said a statement by the Federal Health Ministry. Among its complications include diarrhea, infection of the lung and ear, encephalitis, malnutrition, and blindness which may lead to death.

"To the parents, let's not take the health of our children for granted".

"Vaccinations to prevent measles is available free of cost in government health centers". The move was welcomed by presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo Thursday, even as he acknowledged that Acosta may have scared the public from getting immunized. "I can not be blaming her for that", he said.

Parents have been reluctant to have their children immunised at government health centres, after a series of childhood deaths linked to the Dengvaxia dengue 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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