Join fight vs. measles, LGUs told
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the comments after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Health to conduct a “vigorous campaign” to promote the complete immunization for children. According to Nograles, the DOH had been directed to pursue a “more aggressive action” on addressing the epidemic. The Presidential Communications Operations Office, on the other hand, was also tapped to boost its communication efforts to instill anew the importance of vaccination, aiding the DOH with information dissemination. However, Nograles admitted that aside from the national government and its agencies, the LGUs also played an important role in terms of actions, accountability, and contribution to the immunization. “All we need to do is to step up the drive, the DOH has to step up its drive and involve the local government units… I think the LGUs play a very critical and important part in this immunization program and other programs of government,” he told a Palace press briefing Friday. He also said the directives for the DOH to step up the information drive were consistent with the provisions of the Mandatory Infants and Children Health Immunization Act of 2011. Under Section 4 of the law, “The DOH, other government agencies, non-government organizations, professional and academic societies, and local government units shall make available appropriate information materials and shall have a system of its distribution to the public.” “So, it’s clear in the law that we need to mobilize the entire government machinery, as well as our partners in the health sector, to inform the public that immunization is provided for free by the government, that it is safe, and that this is needed to protect the lives and health of children all over the country,” he stressed. “This is the only way to address the current measles outbreak, abate its spread in more areas, and prevent the occurrence of another one in the future.” He then assured the public that the government would “exert all efforts” to ensure the proper implementation of RA 10152 amid the increase in measles cases in the country. “The Duterte administration recognizes that this is a public health issue that needs to be urgently addressed. That’s why we are focused on ensuring that the provisions of RA 10152 are properly implemented,” he said.