Measles claim 16 lives in Davao Region

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DAVAO CITY — A total of 16 deaths from the 1,299 cases of Measles and Rubella in Region 11 have been recorded by the Department of Health in Davao Region (DOH 11) from January to September 2 this year, a health official said on Tuesday.

Dr. Janis Olavides, DOH-11 national immunization program manager, said the number of cases and deaths are much lower compared to the same period last year’s 1,374 cases and 39 deaths.

“The result of the decrease is due to the massive supplemental vaccination we have conducted since last year and most of the parents now are allowing their child to get vaccinated,” Olavides said.

Of the 1,299 cases, this city recorded 536 with nine deaths, Davao del Norte has 303 with five deaths and Compostela Valley Province has 180 with two deaths. No deaths were recorded in Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental with 160, 97 and 23 cases respectively.

In August, DOH conducted the school-based immunization program for all public school pupils from Kindergarten to Grade 7 with the goal of enabling the children to be protected from diseases.

Kindergarten to Grade 7 were vaccinated with measles-rubella vaccine while Grades 1 and 7 were given booster doses of tetanus-diphtheria vaccines. Grade 4 female students, meanwhile, got the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine to protect against cervical cancer.

“We targeted to cover 95 percent on this routine immunization,” she explained. Based on the data of DOH, about 701,000 schoolchildren in Davao Region were enrolled in public schools, about 250,000 of whom are from this city.

Olavides said they have already immunized about 80 percent of the total population of schoolchildren in the city in 2016.

In 2017, the immunization rate dropped to 60 percent and in 2018 right after the Dengvaxia issue, the figures further decreased to 39 percent.

Despite the low turnout of the number of schoolchildren getting vaccinated every year, DOH-11 officials remain hopeful that they can reach a vaccination rate of 95 percent for the immunization program. -PNA

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