Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winnie Castelo, Chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development called on urgent government action to control the outbreak of measles, after learning that the outbreak has now spread from Metro Manila and Luzon to other parts of the country.
According to Castelo, about 90 percent of Filipinos with measles are unvaccinated. In Metro Manila, the figure is about 40 percent.
“This is still unacceptable given that measles is no longer a new and rare disease,” said Castelo.
Recently, Health Secretary Francisco Duque announced that the measles outbreak has spread to Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Western Visayas, and Central Visayas.
Calabarzon recorded 104 measles cases with nine deaths. Western Visayas recorded 104 cases and three deaths, while Central Visayas recorded 71 cases and one death.
In addition, Duque also noted an increase of measles cases in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Quezon) and the Bicol Region.
“The entire government machinery must work fast and quick to treat the patients of the outbreak, to control the spread of the disease, and to prevent the malady from reaching other areas yet unaffected,” urged Castelo, who is gunning for a seat in the Quezon City Council in the May midterm polls.
Castelo served as Quezon City councilor for four terms from 1995-2001 and again from 2004-2010.
“The Health Department and local government units, as well as private institutions who are willing to help, must work triple time to address this medical disaster.”
“Given the very high numbers of Filipinos who have not yet received the anti-measles vaccine, the Health Department and local government units, as well as private institutions who are willing to help, must work triple time to address this medical disaster,” said Castelo.
“Most of the victims, and those highly vulnerable to get afflicted, are indigents who have no capacity to seek medical attention. They must be given free treatment. They must be given free vaccines. They must be given as much assistance as may be available. If the government has savings, this is the best time to make use of it,” Castelo added.
“Most of the victims, and those highly vulnerable to get afflicted, are indigents who have no capacity to seek medical attention. They must be given free treatment.”
Measles is a highly contagious disease spread through coughing, sneezing and through close personal contact.
The symptoms include red eyes, runny nose, fever and skin rashes for more than three to seven days. Complications include diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia, swelling of the brain, malnutrition and blindness, which may lead to death.