DepEd says R-12 elementary, high schools measles-free

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 January) — The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 declared elementary and secondary schools in the region on Friday as safe from possible measles outbreaks.

Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd Region 12 acting director, said they have not recorded a single case of measles infection in any school within the region based on their intensified case monitoring and surveillance in the last two weeks.

He said local schools have not reported any case of pupil or student who was sent home due to suspected measles infection.

“The situation in our schools now is considered normal and the movement of people has already been stable. With that, I think we can now declare our schools as safe from measles outbreaks,” the official said.

But Farnazo said they will continue with their monitoring to make sure that schools within the region will remain free of the highly-contagious measles and other diseases.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

DepEd-12 earlier directed local school personnel to monitor possible cases of measles among students and pupils in the wake of the measles outbreak that affected parts of Metro Manila.

Such move was based on an order issued to the DepEd regional offices by Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali.

Although there had been no reported measles outbreaks in the region in the last several years, Farnazo said they were not discounting the possibility that some residents might have recently visited some areas in Metro Manila where the outbreaks were reported.

“Even the outbreak there (Metro Manila) now appears under control so I think we’re also safe here,” the official said.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 monitored a number suspected measles cases in the region last year but said only four were confirmed by the DOH-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

The DOH-12’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit has not yet recorded a single case of confirmed measles infection in the area this year.

Earlier this week, the Integrated Provincial Health Office of South Cotabato said it has monitored 10 suspected cases of measles infection but the RITM has yet to release the results of their confirmatory tests.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., South Cotabato health officer, said two of the patients had history of recent travel to Metro Manila, specifically in Pasay City. (MindaNews)