The current pandemic has brought about health care challenges to the country. Notable among these challenges are children missing out on routine immunization due to misinformation on vaccination and the fear of the possible exposure to COVID-19. These, among others, resulted in the low immunization coverage of Filipino children against preventable diseases such as Polio and Measles – Rubella.
Relative to this, the Department of Health, together with its partner agencies, WHO and UNICEF conducts the nationwide measles immunization campaign which started to roll out last October 26 this year.
Phase 1 will be conducted from 26 October to 25 November 2020 in Mindanao Regions, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, MIMAROPA Region, and Bicol Region.
Phase 2, on the other hand, will be conducted in February 2021 in Visayas Regions, National Capital Region, Central Luzon Region, and CALABARZON Region.
The campaign will target to vaccinate at least 95% of infants and children aged 9-59 months for the Measles-Rubella vaccine and bivalent Oral Polio vaccine for those aged 0-59 months.
The LGU Maitum thru the Rural Health Unit manifested its full support and commitment to the said immunization campaign as it kicked off its first day of Measles-Rubella vaccine immunization to its respective jurisdiction last October 26, 2020.
In the municipality, an estimated 4,736 children under the age of five are susceptible for measles. Measles or tigdas is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. Measles is a dangerous and fatal disease, with complications that can include severe diarrhoea and dehydration, pneumonia, ear and eye complications, encephalitis or swelling of the brain, or permanent disability.
There is no specific treatment for measles. The only reliable protection from measles is vaccination. Among those who are not immune, up to 9 out of 10 people exposed to the measles virus will contract the disease.
WHO and UNICEF are fully committed to support the Philippine government in the fight against measles. WHO and UNICEF assist the DOH in vaccine procurement and delivery, development of immunization guidelines and communication materials, and building the capacity of DOH staff nationwide to plan and ensure that all eligible children are protected through safe and effective vaccines for measles, rubella and polio. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) thru its Memorandum Circular No. 2020 – 144 also expressed its support to Nationwide Measles Rubella – Oral Polio Vaccine Immunization Campaign.