BARMM to immunize 1.3M children vs measles

BARMM to immunize 1.3M children vs measles

Vaccination drive comes as Unicef releases report showing Bangsamoro region accounting for 77 percent of the country’s cases

BARMM to immunize 1.3M children vs measles

A Filipino nurse injects a boy with a measles vaccine. NOEL CELIS/AFP

DAVAO CITY — Following the alarming surge of measles cases that already killed three children in the region in the first quarter of this year, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has embarked on a major drive to vaccinate 1.3 million youngsters aged 6 months to 10 years old.

Thousands of medical workers and barangay health front-liners, called by locals as “bakunador,” were deployed across the region, as 116 towns kicked off on April 1 the immunization campaign, which will end on April 12.


READ: Measles outbreak declared in BARMM


The immunization prioritizes the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, where high incidence of measles was noted, according to BARMM Deputy Minister for Health Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas.


Abas said he was confident the hesitancy rate among parents would drop after the Bangsamoro Darul-Ifta’ (Islamic advisory council) promised to support the massive vaccination campaign.

READ: DOH says BARMM logged 1,481 measles-rubella cases as of March 16

“There is a critical need to reach and vaccinate the children missed during routine vaccinations,” said Abas in a joint statement by the BARMM Ministry of Health (MOH), the Department of Health and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

“We have to make sure that no child is left behind in the BARMM. We have the support of many stakeholders, now it is up to us to lead in this fight against this deadly disease,” he added.

On March 21, the MOH declared a measles outbreak after three children died while 592 measles cases were recorded in the region from January to March 20 this year.


Most prevalent

According to the Unicef, the measles cases in the BARMM made up 77 percent of the confirmed cases in the country for the period. However, health authorities believed the number in the region could be higher.

Measles, a highly contagious disease, can spread via cough or sneeze from infected individuals, according to the World Health Organization. It can cause complications and even death. Its symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose and a body rash and it affects all age groups but is more common in children.

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“There is no specific treatment for the virus that causes measles. However, vaccination protects against it,” Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said in a meeting here last week. INQ

TAGS: BARMM, measles, measles cases, measles vaccination

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