DOH to send teams in provinces to control measles cases

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Department of Health (DOH) will be sending teams to all provinces in Central Luzon to conduct monitoring and rapid coverage assessment against measles.

“These teams will be composed of doctors, nurses and health advocates who will look for those who are not yet vaccinated against measles so that right there, they can vaccinate these children or refer them to the nearest health center,” DOH Regional Director Cesar Cassion said.

Based on data from the DOH Regional Local Health Support Division, about 625,094 children aged 9 to 59 months old are yet to be vaccinated across the region.

“This figure is the best estimate based on target population of those who are susceptible to measles after the last supplemental immunization in 2014,” DOH Regional Local Health Support Division Chief Lailani Mangulabnan said.

She added that DOH intends to cover at least 85 percent of these children in about two weeks to immediately interrupt the transmission of the disease.

For his part, Cassion assured that there are adequate supply and buffer stocks of measles vaccine to immunize the target population.

In addition, he said they are now coordinating with local chief executives to support and extend immunization services even on weekends as well as management of cases which is also crucial to prevent further outbreak.

Aside from immunization services, the teams are also set to conduct advocacy works at the barangay level and will also coordinate with their counterparts at the rural health unit for surveillance.

As of February 12, the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit reported a total of 721 measles cases in the region, with 14 deaths.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transferred from one person to another by sneezing, coughing and close personal contact. Its signs and symptoms include cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, fever, and skin rashes lasting more than three days.

Its complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, malnutrition, blindness, and even death.

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