Health officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are strengthening its effort to prevent a possible outbreak of measles-rubella, including polio, in the region, and to encourage Moro people to take an active role in the fight against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
BARMM’s Ministry of Health (MOH) announced in a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 21 that it will start its supplemental immunization against measles-rubella and polio across the region on October 26.
OIC Minister Amirel Usman said 506,448 children under five years old are set to receive free and safe vaccination.
Measles campaigns were conducted in 1998, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014, and recently in 2019 when the country had more than 40,000 measles cases and 615 deaths owing to the rising number of unimmunized children.
In the Philippines, more than two million children under the age of five are susceptible to measles.
Measles or tigdas is one of the most contagious diseases in the world. About 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people who are exposed to the measles virus will contract the disease.
It can cause high-grade fever, rashes, cough, eye infection, and can lead to complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, blindness, severe diarrhea, and swelling of the brain.
Deputy Minister Zul Qarneyn Abas said threats of impending outbreaks, such as those of the measles-rubella, should be prevented and given serious and urgent attention as the country is still fighting the COVID-19.
Polio, on the other hand, is a potentially debilitating disease that causes fever, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and can eventually lead to lifelong paralysis.
A total of 803,516 children were vaccinated against the polio virus, reaching its 95 percent target all over the region during the two-week long polio immunization campaign ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio’ (SPKP) from July 20 to August 9.
Presently, there are no new recorded cases of polio in the region. The campaign shall continue until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the Philippines as polio-free.
Assistant Secretary Abdulhalik Kasim assured that community-based public health practitioners assigned for the polio-vaccination will strictly observe health and safety measures during the entire conduct of the campaign in response to the health crisis brought about by COVID-19
The BARMM’s “BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19”, a nationwide behavior change campaign that centers on mandating masks, ensuring sanitation, practicing physical distancing, and fighting fake news was also launched.
Sadaila Rakiin, MOH’s technical division chief, said despite information campaign about COVID-19, many Filipinos still do not comply with minimum public health standards set in order to prevent the virus from spreading in the community.
As of Oct. 20, the Bangsamoro region recorded a total of 391 active cases and 1,030 recoveries from its 1,477 total cases. (BPI/PIA-ICIC)
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