The Local Government Units should be mobilized to stop the measles outbreak, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City, a stalwart of Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition, made the call amid the Department of Health’s (DOH) announcement that there is a measles outbreak in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon and Western Visayas region.
Measles, a highly contagious viral disease, ordinarily affects children aged 10 years old and below and its symptoms include: red eyes, runny nose, cough, fever and rashes behind the ears, head and the whole body.
“We cannot rely on national government all the time since things like these are best managed at the local level. There is a need to have a proactive stance by providing a template for all LGUs in terms of information dissemination, training and medical support to fight any kind of communicable disease,” Gatchalian pointed out.
The measles outbreak has already prompted Undersecretary Eric Tayag of the Department of Health to call on parents to bring their children to health centers for free anti-measles vaccination.
According to Tayag, measles cause deaths due to severe pneumonia or severe dehydration along with diarrhea.
“We should not underestimate how measles and other diseases can be a serious threat to public health and how it can quickly spread within an hour. The Health department should also start mobilizing LGUs in conducting a nationwide mass vaccination against measles. Otherwise, our population will be at risk,” Gatchalian, a former Mayor of Valenzuela City, added.
Back in 1998, the Philippines made a commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) to undertake a 10-year mass measles vaccination program aimed to achieve a “zero” measles record by 2008.
The “Ligtas Tigdas” mass immunization door-to-door campaign is a joint undertaking between the DOH, the local government units, the Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government. LLANESCA T. PANTI