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DOH lauds increase in immunization response; measles death hits 70

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

Healthcare workers administering vaccinations

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) lauded the return of public trust in government immunization program especially amid the ongoing outbreak of measles infection in the country.

“Ako po’y natutuwa na ang mga magulang po ngayon mukhang nagbabago na ang kanilang pananaw patungkol po sa ating immunization program ng DOH,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Chona Palen did not hesitate to have her daughter vaccinated since the outbreak of measles was declared.

Chona said she wants to make sure her children are protected especially the youngest who is nine months old.

“Talagang nag-aalala po talaga ako sa mga anak ko kasi tatlo iyong anak ko. Itong bunso talagang gusto ko talagang pabakunahan,” she said.

Based on the latest data from DOH, measles infection in the country reached to 4,302 cases and 70 deaths from January 1 to February 9, 2019.

The highest number of infection remains in the National Capital Region (NCR) with 1,296 and 18 deaths, followed by Calabarzon with 1,086 cases and 25 deaths; Central Luzon with 481 cases and 3 deaths; Western Visayas with 212 cases and four deaths; and Northern Mindanao with 189 cases and five deaths.

Most of the patients were children aged four and below, with 66% having no vaccination history since birth.

Duque explained that health experts do not recommend measles vaccination to infants 0 to five months old.

It can only be given to children from nine months old and above, and a booster when they reach 12 to 15 months old.

“Kasi mura pa iyong kanilang immune system,” Duque said.

“Pangalawa, meron kasing maraming pag-aaral na lumalabas mayroon silang natural immunity, not really immunity but a protection —immunoglobulin (IGG). From the maternal circulation pumupunta sa bata as a protective antibody,” he added.

Duque said that the only solution when the patient is that young is to isolate the infant infected with measles.

“Iyon lang ang solution natin, isolation lang talaga kung mayroon na and let the body take care of its own,” the DOH secretary said.

The DOH assured that the country has enough supply of measles vaccine this outbreak season.

Thus, it encourages parents to bring their children to the nearest health center for immunization before its too late. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Dengue cases in CARAGA region rises to 5,800; death toll 17

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Dengue cases in CARAGA region has climbed to 5,800 while death toll raised to 17 since January of this year, higher compared to the same period last year.

The Department of Health is alarmed by the increase of dengue cases in the region after the number more than doubled from only 1,173 cases to 5,800. Death toll also rose to 17 in January from four deaths last year.

Based on the investigation of the DOH, late diagnosis and late treatment were one of the major reasons that caused the death of 17 dengue patients.

Doctors in the region reiterate the importance of medical checkups.

“Seek early consultation sa panahon na meron tayong nakikitang myembro ng ating pamilya na may lagnat lampas pa sa dalawang araw at may pang hihina. Kailangan tayong lumapit sa ating malapit na mga health center para sa pagpakunsulta, (Seek early consultation if we have a family member who is experiencing fever for more than two days including extreme fatigue. You need to go to the nearest health center for consultation),” said Dr. Glee Valendoza, Medical Officer III/ Infectious Cluster Head, DOH 13.

The department also reminds the public to use the 4-S against dengue especially in residences near waterways.—AAC (with reports from Raymond Octobre)

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#WorldBloodDonorDay: WHO urges people to give blood, save lives

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the public to donate blood ahead of the celebration of the World Blood Donor Day on June 14 (Friday).

In a Twitter post, the WHO Philippines called on the public to participate in a blood donation drive they will organize with the Philippine Blood Center on June 13 (Thursday).

The bloodletting activity will be held in Sta. Cruz town, Manila from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“In early celebration of #WorldBloodDonorDay, WHO Philippines will be organizing a blood donation drive on 13 June, with the Philippine Blood Center,” the WHO Philippines announced.

“Join us at our office inside the @DOHgov compound from 9am to 4pm. Donate blood, save lives!” the agency added.   

According to the WHO website, the theme for this year’s campaign is blood donation and universal access to safe blood transfusion, as a component of achieving universal health coverage.   

The slogan “Safe blood for all” was also developed to raise awareness on the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care and the crucial roles that voluntary donations play in achieving the goal of universal health coverage.

The WHO said the theme aims to strongly encourage more people all over the world to donate blood regularly, and to urge all governments and health authorities to provide adequate resources and implement systems to increase blood collection, promote/implement appropriate clinical use of blood, and to set up policies for the oversight and surveillance on the whole chain of blood transfusion.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III emphasized the need for blood especially during rainy season when mosquito-borne disease called dengue is more prevalent in the Philippines.

“That’s the time when you will have to consider ensuring availability of blood. In areas of identified hotspots, you have to ensure that delivery units have adequate stock of blood,” Duque said.

Aside from raising awareness, according to the WHO, the event also “serves to thank voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.”The host country for World Blood Donor Day 2019 is Rwanda and the global event will be held in Kigali on June 14.

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Online selling of prescription drugs not allowed by law – DOH

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Social media have become a popular platform for online selling of almost everything – from shoes, clothes, gadgets, machines, food, even health supplements and prescription medicines.

A concerned netizen posted on social media how easy it was for her to order prescription medicines from an online store and pay the amount at any payment center.

The UNTV News Team checked on the online pharmacy which the netizen mentioned and what other prescription medicines were available for purchase.

The online pharmacy was still open but the prices of medicines were no longer posted.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), selling prescription drugs online is not allowed and may incur penalties under the law.

“Hindi pwede iyang antibiotics sa Lazada (Antibiotics are not allowed on Lazada). That is a violation of our Generics law and Cheaper Medicines Act,” noted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Prescription is a must. It is a requirement. You cannot have medicines, antibiotics delivered through Lazada as if it were an ordinary item.  We will file a case against Lazada if it is doing that,” Duque added.

The Department Secretary said if antibiotics would be made easily available on online shops, cases of anti-microbial resistance might soon get out of hand.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) report, seven thousand individuals die every year across the globe due to anti-microbial resistance or AMR.

AMR happens when a certain drug is no longer effective to fight or destroy microbes or parasite inside the human body due to over dosage or unprescribed intake of antibiotics.

For this reason, the DOH reminds the public to religiously follow the doctor’s prescription of a certain anti-biotics to benefit from it.

In line with this issue, the DOH will conduct its own investigation on reports about prescription drugs being sold online.

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