PALO, Leyte- A top official of the Department of Health Regional Office 8 (DOH-8) on Monday reported a decreasing trend in measles cases in Eastern Visayas due to the intensified immunization activities.
In a press briefing at the DOH regional office here, Assistant Regional Director Exuperia Sabalberino said their immunization program already covered 50 percent of the 192,056 children population aged 6 to 59 months old, targeted for the outbreak immunization response.
“These are generally the children living in the poblacion areas, so we deployed volunteer-nurses to all the municipalities in the region to help the local government units in conducting the immunization especially those hard-to-reach barangays,” Sabalberino said.
In the same briefing, Roderick Boyd Cerro, chief of the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, reported 1,080 measles cases with 24 deaths in the region from January 1 to March 8 this year, compared to only eight cases with no death in the same period last year.
Cerro said the victims’ age ranged from 21 days old to 82 years old, wherein more than half (52 percent) were children under 5 years old and 52.8 percent of the cases did not receive vaccines.
The health department is continuously monitoring the measles transmission on a weekly basis and has noticed a slow down on the number of cases starting last week of February.
“Morbidity week 8 has 240 measles cases, then it went down to 160 cases on week 9 (Feb. 24-Mar. 2) and 70 on week 10 (Mar. 3-9),” Cerro further reported.
Elaine Villarosa, immunization program manager, said they also recommended during the health cluster inter-agency meeting, that athletes who will be joining the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Meet in Ormoc City on April 7-12, 2019, should be immunized at least two weeks prior to the event to prevent the spread of transmission of measles cases, considering also the big crowd.
“Ormoc City is also preparing for this and is conducting an intensive immunization for four weeks now, to protect also their community,” Villarosa said.
Meanwhile, the assistant regional director added that with the improved health-seeking behavior, more mothers bring their children to the health centers for vaccination, Sabalberino added.
“DOH is trying everything to control the transmission with the help of all our stakeholders, the media for the advocacy to help us out to reach these mothers especially in the hard-to-reach barangays,” she said.
(LDLopido/PIA-8, Leyte)