Friday, April 14, 2023

DOH calls for polio, measles outbreak prevention to protect children

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of measles, rubella and polio in communities.

The Department of Health - Metro Manila Center for Health Department (DOH-MMCHD) warned the public of an impending polio and measles outbreak this year if not addressed immediately.

During the online media partner's meeting on Thursday, April 13, the DOH-MMCHD 2022 data showed a notable 160 percent increase in cases of rubella and measles compared to 2021, which calls for Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIA) to prevent an outbreak of the diseases.

According to DOH-MMCHD, millions of children were not able to get vaccinated during the pandemic, and the number of unvaccinated children is increasing because of the delays in vaccination brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It can be recalled that Polio attacks the spinal cord and nerves of muscles in the feet/legs, which causes paralysis. The infection may also ascend and affect the muscles of breathing including the diaphragm causing difficulty breathing. Polio is dangerous especially for children younger than 5 years old.

On the other hand, Rubella or "tigdas-hangin" is an infectious virus that can infect pregnant women. This may cause the mother to lose her child or give birth to a child with congenital malformations.

Meanwhile, Measles or "tigdas" may cause severe complications including blindness, encephalitis, ear infection, and pneumonia. It can also cause death.

DOH-MMCHD noted that many children will be in danger if the spread of these diseases is not prevented. An outbreak of polio, rubella, and measles may also happen.

"We would need additional budget, personnel, and resources to address the outbreak while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing," DOH-MMCHD stated.

"Our health personnel will be overburdened with the possible surge of patients in facilities... facilities will not be enough, and adequate medical attention may not be provided due to the volume of patients," DOH-MMCHD added.

To avoid the possible effects of widespread dissemination and infection of the said diseases, the DOH-MMCHD will be conducting a vaccination campaign from May 1-31, 2023 in health centers and assigned temporary vaccination posts nationwide. Vaccination teams will also go house-to-house to encourage the vaccination of children from 0 o 59 months old.

All children will be given supplemental doses. Measles-Rubella Vaccine will be given to 9-59 months old, while Oral Polio vaccine will be given to 0-59 months old.
The activity shall be synchronized and completed within 4 weeks including rapid convenience monitoring (RCM), mop ups for missed children, follow-ups of deferred children and for refusals.

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