Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque, through the Department of Health in Calabarzon, recently convened the local governments of Rizal province for an “Emergency Command Conference on Measles.”
The goal was to create a sustainable plan and collected effort in eliminating measles cases and to resolve the measles crisis in the province.
“Now that we have regained public trust on our health centers, let us seize this opportunity and communicate to our people, to our parents, to the mothers in particular, on the extreme urgency of having their children brought for immunization in their respective health centers,” said Duque.
“We need to have a successful immunization plan because this is the only way to stop the rise of vaccine preventable diseases. It is only through this strategy,” he added.
Duque said he strongly believes the DOH “can muster everyone’s capacity to respond with a sense of urgency to reverse this dire situation that is confronting the entire Philippine health system.”
“It’s going to be worse if we don’t do this. They need to unite and let us understand the meaning of continuous measles outbreaks and cases,” he said.
“We have the capability, we have the manpower, the funds and logistics…there should be no excuse,” Duque added.
“We need to collectively ensure and commit to bring back herd immunity to 95 percent. Let’s be 10 steps ahead so vaccine preventable diseases won’t spread,” the DOH chief said.
Duque called for deliberate, well focused, and strategic solutions to reverse the measles outbreak, noting that other vaccine preventable diseases cases “will rise and it will be going to be a tremendous concern in the future.”
DOH-Calabarzon Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo acknowledged the timely response and continuing efforts of LGUs in Rizal.
“We have augmented manpower in areas where there are high number of measles cases by deploying additional vaccinators to assist in the house-to-house immunization and manage additional fixed vaccination posts in the communities,” he said.
Local governments also reported accomplishments in the measles campaign and continues to lobby with the private schools, the Muslim community in Cainta, and the religious sector to submit their children for vaccination.
Janairo also assured LGUs that DOH-Calabarzon is ready to answer requests for assistance on the ongoing measles mass immunization campaign.
“We have the measles task force and vaccination teams to address and respond to any queries and support,” he said.
“Even with the downtrend of measles cases, we still need to maximize our efforts to safeguard all fully immunized children to prevent the onset of another outbreak. That is why I again call on parents to bring their un-immunized child to the nearest health center to avail of the free anti-measles vaccine. It is the only way to protect your children and prevent the spread of the virus,” Janairo said.
From January 1, 2019 to March 19, 2019, the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) reported a total of 2,737 measles cases in the province of Rizal with 121deaths.
This figure is 7,503 percent higher compared to the same period last year with 13 measles cases and 6 recorded deaths.
Antipolo City has the highest number of measles cases in the province 1007 and 32 deaths followed by the municipalities of Rodriguez with 308 cases and 7 deaths; Cainta with 264 cases and 7 deaths; Taytay - 260 cases and 6 deaths; San Mateo – 248 and 7 deaths; Binangonan – 188 and 3 deaths; Angono – 93, 4; Baras – 91, 2; Tanay – 86, 5; Pililla – 29, 2; Teresa 30 case, no death reported; Cardona 26, 2; Morong – 23, 2; and Jala-Jala with 5 cases, no death.
A total of 5,646 measles cases recorded in Calabarzon for the same period with 121 deaths. Cavite with 929 cases and 15 deaths recorded; Laguna has 847 cases with 12 deaths; Batangas with 577 cases and 9 deaths; and Quezon with 556 cases and 6 deaths.
The total number of vaccinated children in the province of Rizal is 333,581 (95.84%) from the target population for Measles-Rubella Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR-SIA) of 348,076. There are 124,491 children ages 6-59 months old more for vaccination.