CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— A steady decrease of measles cases in the region in the past three to four weeks has been observed by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Cumulatively, if we add the cases, they are increasing; but the daily tally of cases now shows a steady decrease. Hopefully, it will go back to the low levels like the ones we had last year,” DOH regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU) head Dr. Jessie Fantone said.
This trend is mainly attributed to the intensifi ed Measles Outbreak Response Immunization (MORI) carried out by DOH and its partner agencies, wherein a total of 405, 101 eligible population or 117 percent of the target were immunized with measles vaccines across the region.
“Starting February 12, we have already raised code white and formed seven teams ready for deployment to the different priority areas affected by measles outbreak,” DOH Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health Medical Officer IV Dr. Maila Rostrata said.
She added that the DOH-retained hospitals were also put on heightened alert to admit and handle suspect measles cases.
“Our hospitals have fast lanes for patients with measles. Aside from handling cases, medical personnel from our hospitals also help out in administering mass immunization to groups like the indigenous peoples. Because of these efforts, somehow we have contained the outbreak,” Rostrata said.
Collaborative efforts of the different national government agencies are also instrumental in mitigating the outbreak.
“At the regional level, we have launched the Rejuvenated Oplan Ligtas Tigdas thru the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Through this, we were able to solicit the support of agencies by joining DOH in the conduct of mass immunization and providing assistance in hard to reach areas,” she added.
For her part, DOH Local Health Support Division chief Dr. Lailani Mangulabnan said various interventions like meetings with the local chief executives, vitamin A supplementation and quad-media advocacy were also effective in stopping the virus transmission.
However, despite this decreasing trend, the DOH assured the public of continuing outbreak response immunization.
As of March 24, a total of 4,049 measles cases with 86 deaths were reported to RESU, with Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac having the highest number of cases.
With this, DOH appeals to mothers and caregivers to bring their children to health facilities and have them vaccinated.