BAGUIO CITY – The City Council passed a resolution strongly urging all the barangay officials in the city’s one hundred twenty eight barangays to extend the necessary assistance in the massive information education campaign (IEC) on measles and Japanese encephalitis and in the implementation of Oplan Culex plus in the city to prevent the spread of the dreaded illnesses.
The resolution authored by Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog states that because of the expected target of 33,616 children aged 9 to 59 months old which should be vaccinated by the personnel of the City Health Services Office for Japanese encephalitis, the support of all the barangay officials in the said endeavour, especially in terms informing their constituents of the diseases and for them to avail their children of the Oplan Culex plus, to ensure the success of the implementation of the said program.
The resolution noted that the country is now in the midst of an increasing measles crisis with over 4,302 reported cases, at least 70 deaths, mainly of children, and resulted to a 122 percent increase from last year.
In the city, the resolution stated there were 95 and 110 cases of measles in 2017 and 2018, respectively, while from January 1 to February 14, 2019, 94 cases have already been recorded and 36 laboratory confirmed cases.
While such numbers are not yet of epidemic levels, the local government and its health partners can not be complacent on the matter, thus, it actively participated in the launching of the mass vaccination campaign for measles and Japanese encephalitis to ensure the immunization of all the children within the prescribed age group to prevent them from contracting the dreaded illnesses.
Based on a report from the health department’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, there were already 10 laboratory confirmed cases of Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-borne viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female Culex mosquito, in the city from 2016 to 2018 which makes it endemic in the city.
Health experts warned the public previously that Japanese encephalitis is a serious disabling illness which can be fatal for at least 30 percent of the people infected if not immediately managed. Japanese encephalitis is characterized by headache, fever, vomiting, muscle pains, abdominal pains, stiffness of the neck, pain in the eyes when looking at light, disturbances in behaviour, and seizures or convulsions.
The local legislative body underscored with the increasing figures on the people affected with measles and Japanese encephalitis, the City Health Services Office, in coordination with the Center for Health Development in the Cordillera and the World Health Organization, embarked on the implementation of the Oplan Culex plus, a mass vaccination for measles, Japanese encephalitis, and oral polio vaccine and the giving of Vitamin A.
The target group for the Oplan Culex plus would be babies and children aged 6 to 59 months for measles; 9 to 59 months for Japanese encephalitis; 0 to 59 months for oral polio and 6 to 59 months for Vitamin A.
By Dexter A. See