In Sarangani, Alejandro disclosed there are about 57,828 eligible children ages 9-59 months old which are targets for measles-rubella vaccination, regardless of the immunization status.
Measles and rubella are “vaccine-preventable diseases” yet “highly-contagious which can cause severe complications sa katawan, and can even lead to death,” Alejandro said.
“While the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the measles and rubella situations demand serious and urgent attention to avoid impending outbreaks and to protect the lives of the children,” said Jennelyn Ellie Ventura of DOH XII.
In the data presented by DOH, the measles outbreak in 2018 and 2019 in the country has recorded “70,000 cases and 841 deaths, mostly unimmunized children.”
According to the World Health Organization, “an immunization coverage of 95% among all children is needed for a community to be fully-protected against measles.”
In 2019, Sarangani has recorded only “68.10% accomplishment rate or 6-7 out of 10 children are fully-immunized.”
“Again, we need to cover 95% or more of our children to be vaccinated with MR vaccines,” Ventura reiterated.
On October 6, PHO and DOH XII conducted a Partners Meeting and Send-off activity in preparation for the MRSIA campaign in the province.
Distribution of logistics and other advocacy materials needed for the vaccination campaign have already started for the health workers of the Rural Health Unit of Alabel.
Also to “ensure kids will be free from dengue and sustain a malaria-free province,” PHO will distribute a total of 3,600 bed nets to selected beneficiaries all over Sarangani, alongside with the immunization activity.
Alejandro said the vaccination activity will “strictly follow minimum health protocols; 2-meters distancing, wearing of facemasks and face shields, and handwashing always.”
“Health personnel are trained and aware of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures,” to minimize COVID-19 transmission.
Alejandro clarified there will be “no house-to-house immunization dahil meron tayong fixed immunization posts na tinatawag, the barangay health centers and stations.”
“Measles and rubella vaccines have been provided and proven effective since several decades ago, so huwag kayong matakot,” Alejandro appealed to parents whose confidence in vaccines have decreased because of the Dengvaxia scare.
“It is more risky kung hindi mabigyan ng bakuna ang bata, and it should actually be one of the rights of the children already, to be given complete immunization before reaching one year old,” he added.
“No child should suffer and die from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine that is available for free,” Ventura said. (Jori Mae R. Samillano/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)
Photo of Partners Meeting and Send-off activity by Martin Fernando Bernad Jr.