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MOH-BARMM moves to help contain measles outbreak in Lanao Sur

Local News • 13:00 PM Tue Sep 26, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez and MOH-BARMM news release
ARREST OUTBREAK. Saida Diocolano-Ali, MOH-BARMM Health Education and Promotion Officer (left, facing participants), speaks during focus group discussion how to help contain the measles outbreak down to the barangay level. (Photos from MOH-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY - The Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) has taken steps to help arrest the outbreak of measles in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.

From Sept. 21 to 23, a team of health workers from MOH-BARMM conducted a joint surveillance, monitoring and response to the ongoing measles outbreak in Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur.

As directed by BARMM Health Minister Dr. Rizaldy L. Piang, the 3-day monitoring aims to determine the primary cause of the spread of measle disease resulting to the declaration of outbreak and how to contain it and prevent further infection.

Twelve patients were tested positive of measles from Lanao Del Sur, while 16 from Marawi City, and 1 deceased, all were admitted at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC).

The data shown is based on September 21 record of the Integrated Provincial Health Office and City Health Office of Marawi.

The monitoring revealed that most of the patients were unvaccinated during the MR-OPV SIA vaccination campaign in May of this year.

"Our vaccination rate in Marawi is 98 percent while in Lanao Sur is 99 percent," Ali said. "However, all those in the hospital now are not among those vaccinated."

"The patients in APMC are aged between four years old to 60 years old," she added.  

Some rejected the vaccine due to misinformation and fear of the possible aftermath, while some claimed that it is against Islamic belief, despite having declared through Fatwa from the Darul Ifta of Bangsamoro that the said vaccine is halal and is not bearing destructive effects to the body.

Saida Diocolano-Ali, Health Education and Promotion Officer of the Ministry of Health, coordinated with several RHUs and APMC to conduct a focused group discussion with the health professionals and citizens from various municipalities of Lanao del sur.

The FGD aimed to raise awareness about the danger of measles and provide information on prevention and control measures.

Ali said that by engaging community members in an open dialogue the hopes to empower the residents to protect themselves and their family, ultimately working towards containing the outbreak and safeguarding public health.

The ongoing outbreak made the citizens of Lanao Del Sur and Marawi realized the significance of visiting health centers, consulting health professionals and partaking in vaccination campaigns.

The activity was spearheaded by Health Promotion Unit and Communications Management Unit (HPU and CMU), Regional Epidemiology surveillance Unit(RESU), Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases(EREID), and Health Education, Maintenance, and support(HEMS) of the Ministry of Health-BARMM, in coordination with their provincial counterparts.

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