Via The Philippine Star: Measles in MM: Yolanda exodus to blame? Excerpt:
The exodus of displaced residents in areas battered by Super Typhoon Yolanda is among the reasons being considered by the Department of Health (DOH) for the outbreak of measles in Metro Manila.
DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said that Metro Manila has a “mobile population” and this could contribute to the rise in measles cases in the region.
Citing the case of the city of Manila, Tayag noted when the city health office conducted an anti-measles immunization campaign, they found out that there were many children not in their target lists and they had not been vaccinated against the disease.
“Remember Yolanda, many people came (to Metro Manila)... But we are not blaming them,” Tayag told a health forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians.
DOH director for National Capital Region Eduardo Janairo also maintained that residents of Zamboanga City als migrated to Metro Manila after the city was heavily destroyed in the standoff between government forces and a Moro National Liberation Front faction in September 2013.
“The vaccination rates in the Visayas and Mindanao are really not that high... In Biñan, Laguna, there was an outbreak earlier in June or July (and) many people there went to Manila for a vacation,” Janairo said.
For Parañaque City health officer Olga Virtusio, misconceptions and cultural beliefs on vaccination also affected immunization programs.
Virtusio noted that some parents do not want their children vaccinated because of their unfounded fear of side effects like fever.
She said that in Parañaque, for instance, health workers usually find it hard to convince indigenous peoples, like the Badjaos who mostly live in coastal areas, to be vaccinated because of their beliefs against it.
“We tried so hard to educate them in terms of hygiene and other health concerns and services, but vaccine is really a no-no for them. I don’t know why but I think it’s really part of their culture,” Virtusio added.
The DOH has met with city health officers and hospital directors in Metro Manila to discuss the situation in the region after the health agency declared measles outbreaks in some barangays in the cities of Manila, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Navotas, Valenzuela, Taguig, Malabon, Muntinlupa and Caloocan.
Based on the partial report of the DOH-National Capital Region, there were 416 confirmed measles cases in Metro Manila in 2013. This figure is 1,568 percent higher than the 25 confirmed cases in the region in 2012.