City health officials are poised to make Valenzuela City morbilli and rubella (German) measles free with “Mr. Sia” making the rounds of a month-long door-to-door immunization activity for children by 2012.
City Health Department head Dr. Jaime Exconde said his office has been conducting since April 4 a house-house measles-rubella supplemental immunization activity, or MR-SIA for short, that seeks to provide each children aged nine months up to 95 months, or almost 8 years of age, with vaccination against the deadly diseases
The vaccine administered will provide protection against the two unrelated diseases but with similar symptoms.
The program is part of the “Ligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas” nationwide campaign spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) and will run until May 4. This strategy would have then covered around 18.5 million Filipino children vulnerable to the disease.
Locally, records from Dr. Miriam Deato, medical coordinator for the city’s expanded program on immunization, showed that there are 113,291 children born between May 5, 2003 to July 4, 2010 in the city targeted for the program. This figure covers roughly 20 percent of the city’s population.
To attain a 100% coverage rate, 75 MR-SIA teams have been dispatched to comb through out the city’s 32 barangays and conduct the activity from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Mondays to Fridays. The health department further noted that community leaders have been working closely with them to ensure proper and easy implementation of the program at the barangay level.
The MR-SIA team would also re-visit homes if a child was missed by the roving personnel composed of a nurse or a midwife, recorder, and a guide.
Furthermore, Dr. Exconde said “the vaccination team will provide the necessary information to convince the parents or caregivers to subject their child for vaccination even if they have private physicians and whether or not two doses of measles-containing vaccines has already been given in the past regardless of who and when the vaccines were given.”
The DOH defined morbilli measles as “a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that affects mostly children and is easily, and very rapidly transmitted through air or direct contact, which may cause complications, such as, pneumonia, encephalitis, blindness, deafness, ear infection, diarrhea and dehydration that can lead to death.”
Rubella measles on the other hand is a “relatively mild illness characterized by pinkish-red rash that first appears on the face and later spreads elsewhere on the body.” This illness however, is more dangerous when contracted during pregnancy as it may cause complications to the unborn child.
- Mark Lester Cayabyab