World Vision reiterates the call of DOH for everyone to be vigilant on the symptoms of measles
Child-focused agency World Vision has expressed its concern over the growing number of measles cases in the country.
Last month, the Department of Health has declared measles outbreak in five regions including Metro Manila (NCR), Central Luzon (Region 3), CALABARZON (Region 4A), Western Visayas (Region 6), and Central Visayas (Region 7). “There should be no reason for children to die of preventable diseases such as measles,” shares Carleneth San Valentin, Health and Nutrition Technical Manager, noting that majority of those who died due to the disease’s complications were children below five.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It can be transferred from person-to-person through sneezing, coughing or direct contact. Deaths are caused by the complications of the disease like pneumonia, diarrhea, middle ear infection, and malnutrition.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles has claimed about 110,000 lives in 2017, the majority were children. Countering the outbreak DOH pointed “vaccination hesitancy” among parents as one reason for the measles outbreak. Of the 70 deaths, 79% were not vaccinated. The crisis has also been mounting in the past years, with the decline in the first dose of measles vaccine from 80% in 2008 to below 70% in 2017.
WHO estimates that 2.6 million children under the age of 5 years in the Philippines are vulnerable to measles. The government has since doubled its efforts to address the crisis through information drive and mass immunization activities.
World Vision reiterates the call of DOH for everyone to be vigilant on the symptoms of measles that include cough, runny nose, fever, skin rashes lasting for more than 3 days and red eyes. Vitamin A supplementation for children aged 9-month old and up is also helpful to prevent the disease.
World Vision, which currently assists over 70,000 children in the Philippines, is also one with the government in its fight against the outbreak. “In the past decades, World Vision has been working alongside community partners, LGUs and parents to ensure that children get the first dose of measles vaccine before they turn a year old. We are constantly monitoring possible cases in our areas, but none has been reported so far to be affected. However, we urge the parents and caregivers in our served communities, especially of children below 5 to get their children vaccinated. One death is too much and we owe it to our children to keep them from harm’s way,” appealed World Vision Executive Director Rommel V. Fuerte.