DOH to vaccinate 475,029 children in Davao Region vs measles

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 October) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Davao Region targets to vaccinate a total of 475,029 children aged nine to 59 months against measles, from October 26 to November 25, an official said.

During a virtual press briefing streamed live via Facebook on Wednesday, DOH-Davao director Annabelle Yumang said the agency targets to immunize 72,017 children in Davao de Oro, 93,000 in Davao del Norte, 60,896 in Davao del Sur, 32,530 in Davao Occidental, 59,408 in Davao Oriental, and 157,178 in Davao City.

She said measles could be deadly for infected children who develop severe complications.

She said measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease, which could be transmitted from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing and close personal contact.

The signs and symptoms of the infection include cough, runny nose, red eyes/conjunctivitis, fever, and skin rashes lasting for more than three days, according to the DOH website.

“Ordinarily, measles with no complication can last up to a few days but this is dangerous for those with complication like pneumonia, which can cause death. Other complications include diarrhea, which can lead to malnutrition, and other complications can cause blindness,” Yumang said.

From January to October 2020, the DOH-Davao reported 580 cases of measles with seven deaths. The agency reported 1,504 cases in the same period of 2019.

“In Region 11 (Davao), there was a sudden spike in the first quarter, so we did an immunization for children below five years old as our outbreak response against measles. But from March until now, we saw only a few cases of measles,” Yumang said.

She said the vaccination would not be done on a house-to-house basis but through designated “fixed sites” like barangay health centers and stations or gyms.

She assured the public that basic health protocols would be observed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We are reminding our health workers to observe the minimum health standards like wearing a face mask and face shield, hand washing, and maintaining physical distancing,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)