DOH to intensify immunization vs measles in Caraga | Inquirer News
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DOH to intensify immunization vs measles in Caraga

/ 09:07 PM January 11, 2020

BUTUAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) in the Caraga Region targets an intensified program of immunization in 2020 to reverse the high incidence of measles affectation and deaths recorded in 2019.

According to the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), a total of 1,939 measles cases were reported in the region in 2019, a 472-percent jump from only 339 cases in 2018.

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Of the 1,939 cases, 35 resulted in deaths. In 2018, measles deaths were only three.

Among the region’s five provinces and six cities, the province of Agusan del Sur reported the most number of cases at 635, followed by Surigao City at 352, Surigao del Norte with 257, Surigao de Sur at 190, Butuan City with 181, and Agusan del Norte with 102.

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The island province of Dinagat follows at 70, Bayugan City with 48, Cabadbaran City with 36, Tandag City with 42 and 26 for Bislig City.

Agusan del Sur had the most number of measles deaths at 28, Surigao City with three, and two in Agusan del Norte. Both Butuan City and Surigao del Sur province have one reported mortality each.

Dr. Rodolfo Antonio Albornoz, director III of DOH-Caraga, acknowledged that the performance of routine immunization was way below target in 2019 and that it contributed to the spike in the number of measles cases in the region.

“This year, we hope to advocate more routine immunization. The performance over the past three years has been below the target of 95%. We hope to change that this year by intensifying our efforts, close monitoring and surveillance of reported cases,” Albornoz said.

Albornoz added that the problem was not only in the immunization of measles but in the entire DOH campaign that was undermined by false information.

“We will not only intensify our efforts, we will also have to step up our actions such as with our deployment and proper allocation of field personnel to answer the need as it arises, so we will be augmenting our health personnel such as our doctors to the barrio, nurses and midwives,” he said.

In 2019, the augmentation and deployment of DOH personnel in the field were affected by budget cuts, compounded by the delay in the approval of the 2019 budget.

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DOH will also implement a reorientation among health workers in the different areas throughout the Caraga region as many of them have imbibed the propaganda against immunization, Albornoz said.

/atm

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