DOH Center for Health and Development Cordillera OIC Regional Director Amelita Pangilinan said the government’s immunization program has gone through a challenging time with the Dengvaxia (anti – Dengue vaccine) controversy which caused fear among parents and guardians to allow their children to be immunized. Health Department still did its very best to promote the program and to reach out to as many beneficiaries as possible especially in the first quarter of this year wherein measles, a vaccine- preventable disease rose to epidemic proportions, she said..
The DOH presented to the participants the overview and final accomplishment report on the two immunization programs as well as the joint memorandum of agreement between the DOH and the Department of Education on the School Based Immunization (SBI).
DOH launched “Oplan Culex”, a World Health Organization - certified immunization program simultaneous with the massive anti – measles campaign early this year to ensure the safety of Filipino children from the dreadful and fatal but vaccine -preventable Japanese Encephalities (JE) virus.
In the Cordillera, there were 25 cases of JE recorded by DOH in 2018, a notable increase compared to the seven cases recorded in 2017.
The DOH project “Baby Come Back to Bakuna” stemmed from the alarming increase in measles cases where from the 65 cases (with zero death) recorded in 2018, it rose to 812 cases with three deaths within the first semester of this year.
Measles and JE are just among the vaccine preventable diseases under the DOH Expanded Immunization program in which the health department provides free vaccinations through the different government hospitals, barangay health stations and community health centers, as well as through the SBI in partnership with the DepEd.
The health stakeholders from Cordillera regional line agencies and local government units were also engaged in a planning workshop for the crafting of implementation plans, identification of issues and concerns that need to be addressed, solicit recommendations and for a sharing of best practices on immunization - related programs and services.
Pangilinan reiterated DOH’s call for support by the public and the health stakeholders in improving the immunization coverage of the children down to the barangay level in Cordillera.
“..We want a healthier Cordillera. We want to prevent these dreadful diseases through a well researched PH intervention that is cost effective which is vaccination or immunization,” she said. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR with Jordan Capadocia/UP Baguio Intern)