3 die of suspected measles in Sarangani, South Cotabato
KIDAPAWAN CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in the Soccsksargen region said another child died of suspected measles on Wednesday in Sarangani, raising the death toll to three in the region since January.
Jenny Ventura Panizales, DOH Region 12 focal person on measles eradication, said over the weekend that a nine-month-old child died of suspected measles in Glan town and another one in Alabel town, both in Sarangani.
“The causes of death of these two children are (still) being validated but health workers and parents have confirmed of cases of measles in their communities,” Panizales said.
Last week, DOH confirmed that measles was the cause of the death of a four-month-old baby in Polomolok, South Cotabato.
DOH has monitored a total of 342 suspected measles in various hospitals in the region as of February 27. The number is 14 percent higher than the 299 cases monitored in the same period last year.
Hospitals in Cotabato City also served 75 patients with suspected measles from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and these were included in the Soccsksargen report, Panizales added.
South Cotabato and Sarangani recorded the highest number of measles cases in the region, at 95 and 79 cases, respectively. North Cotabato and General Santos City followed with 56 cases, both; Cotabato City, 41; and Sultan Kudarat, 15.
Panizales appealed to the public, particularly to mothers of children nine months to 59 months old to bring their children to the nearest health stations for measles vaccination.
She added that DOH, in partnership with the local governments, would embark on massive vaccination starting the first week of March.
She also advised parents of children below 59 months old to keep their children away from neighbors or communities, where measles was reported, to avoid contamination.
“There’s no outbreak yet, despite the high number of measles cases in the region,” Panizales said.
To arrest the rising number of patients, Panizales said DOH-12 Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan ordered the cancellation of other health activities in the region so that more personnel could help with the vaccination.
DOH has been coordinating with local government units for the massive and house-to-house immunization campaign, especially in vulnerable areas and far-flung communities. /lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.