The Department of Health (DOH) launched on Monday, April 4, 2011 its month-long, nationwide, door-to-door measles immunization campaign called “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas” which aims to cover 18 million children aged nine (9) months to below eight (8) years.

Chosen as project launch site was the City of Parañaque which has gained renown for its innovative health programs for which this LGU was accorded the 2010 Emerging Local C.H.A.M.P. (Catalytic HIV and AIDS Mitigation Program) Award; 2010 Urban Health Champion Award; 2009 Galing Pook Award; 2008 Award for Healthy Cities with Good Dynamics; 2008 Award for Creative Developments in Healthy Cities; and 2006 Award for Progressive Cities with Great Potentials from the Alliance for Healthy Cities and the World Health Organization.

“It is an honor for Parañaque to be the host city for the launching of the “Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas”. We support this DOH-UNICEF-WHO-USAID-LGU health campaign and look forward to the realization of the goal of eliminating measles in the Philippines by 2012.”, Mayor Bernabe said.

Slated from April 4 to May 4, 2011, vaccination teams or “Bakunadors” from LGU health offices will doing a house-to-house visit to give free Measles and German Measles vaccine to target children.

The health department advises parents to submit eligible children to vaccination even if they have previous measles vaccination or if they have already had measles.

Aside from measles immunization, some local governments will also be giving out free doses of Vitamin A which is an important micronutrient for good eyesight, strong bones and a healthy immune system.

According to DOH Secretary Dr. Enrique Ona, the goal of the campaign is to decrease the number of susceptible children that have piled up since the last nationwide campaign was conducted in 2004.

He added that vaccination is the best way to prevent Measles and German measles.

The DOH National Epidemiology Center recorded 2,075 measles cases nationwide from January to March 19 of this year between ages 8 days to 85 years old with 5 deaths. Most of the cases were from the National Capital Region (311) followed by Central Luzon (298), Bicol Region (277), CALABARZON (238), Davao Region (197), Ilocos Region (174) and Zamboanga Peninsula (163).

Measles is a highly contagious disease which can be fatal. It is spread by coughing and sneezing or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.

German Measles also known as Rubella is a highly contagious mild disease that has flu-like symptoms and rashes. It can pose a serious threat to pregnant women as it can cause miscarriages, premature delivery and serious birth defects, including heart, hearing and sight problems, cognitive impairments and liver or spleen damage.

DOH Secretary Ona urged parents and guardians to have eligible children vaccinated to boost their protection against measles. He stressed that hospitalization for measles treatment can be costly as it may range from P500.00 to P15,000.00 depending on the stage, complications and severity whereas vaccination as preventive measure is given free by the government as a public service.

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