With the measles outbreak spreading to other regions of Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas, Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, called on parents to have their children inoculated to stem the spread of the outbreak.
"Sa mga magulang, wag natin isawalang-bahala ang kalusugan ng ating mga anak. Pabakunahan na natin sila bago pa lumalaganap ng husto ang outbreak ng tigdas. Let us learn from the mistakes on Dengvaxia, but let us not use that issue to disregard the vaccines in the EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization). Vaccines included in the EPI are safe," he said.
Gordon, who visited the measles patients confined at the San Lazaro Hospital (SLH) in Manila after the session which was adjourned close to midnight last Wednesday, assured that the PRC is closely coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) in providing assistance relevant to the surge of patients due to the measles outbreak.
He said the PRC is ready to provide medical interventions, including the establishment of a 100-bed emergency medical unit (EMU) and welfare desks at the SLH. PRC is also ready to provide blankets and hygiene kits to uplift the dignity of the patients and parents currently staying at the hospital.
"We need to work together to assist the families affected by the measles outbreak. When we visited the SLH, we saw two or three children sharing one bed with parents also sharing the space. What was usually a room for two or three patients now accommodate up to 10 children. Even hallways are now being used," the senator said.
PRC is offering to put up the EMU, an outdoor hospital setup, to serve as an extension ward to address the overflow of patients.
Gordon also instructed PRC's different chapters to conduct community mobilization to raise awareness on measles and its prevention measures after the DOH raised the red flag for measles in other regions of Luzon, Central and Eastern Visayas in addition to yesterday's outbreak declaration in the National Capital Region.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a paramyxovirus. It is transferred from person-to-person by sneezing, coughing, and close personal contact. Its signs and symptoms include cough, runny nose, red eyes/conjunctivitis, fever, skin rashes lasting for more than 3 days. The disease's complications included diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (swelling of the brain), malnutrition, blindness which may lead to death.
Source: Senate of the Philippines