Measles outbreak declared in BARMM

Measles outbreak declared in BARMM

COTABATO CITY — The Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) declared a measles outbreak on Thursday and was set to launch a massive vaccination drive across the region.

Three children have died of measles in the region since January this year, two in Lanao del Sur and another one in Sulu provinces, according to MOH Deputy Minister Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas.

The MOH surveillance unit also recorded 592 cases of measles infection in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Cotabato and Marawi cities from January to March 20 this year. No case was recorded in Lamitan City, Basilan.


Lanao del Sur has the highest number of measle cases at 220 or 37 percent of the regional total, followed by Maguindanao del Norte with 148, Sulu 91, Marawi 80, Maguindanao del Sur and the Special Geographic Area 11, Basilan 9, Cotabato City 4 and Tawi-Tawi 3.


No shield

Of those afflicted with measles, 521, or 88 percent were not vaccinated.

“Vaccination is the proven and effective shield against measles,” Abas explained, adding that MOH will be holding a region-wide measles-rubella vaccination from April 1 to April 20.

READ: Fewer PH kids getting 2nd shot vs measles — DOH

Children aged nine months and up will be given antimeasles vaccines and a follow-up vaccination when the child reaches 1 year old.

In 2023, MOH-BARMM listed 1,175 measles cases, 11 of which resulted in deaths.

Dr. Tato Usman, MOH director general, explained that when a child is first vaccinated at nine months old and then at 1-year-old, that child will become “fully immunized,” radically reducing the risks of being infected with measles, which is a viral respiratory illness.


Health authorities in Muslim-dominated areas have also faced major challenges in vaccination against contagious diseases in the past.

Parents, especially mothers, were hesitant to have their children vaccinated due to unfounded fear and misconceptions.

To address the hesitancy issue, the MOH has partnered with the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta, the region’s religious authority, and Muslim religious leaders.

Sheik Mohammad Pangca, senior administrative assistant of the Darul Ifta, said they were committed to helping MOH educate the mothers and every Bangsamoro resident that the vaccines are safe.

“We are committed to help and we continue to help MOH on this,” Pangca said.

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The religious leaders are integrating into their respective “Khutbah” or sermons preached during Friday congregational prayers, about the benefits of vaccination, he added.

TAGS: BARMM, measles, measles cases

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