WHO experts to arrive mid-March to ‘boost DOH’s capacity’

By Leilani Junio

February 20, 2018, 5:43 pm

MANILA -- Experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) will arrive here next month to boost the Department of Health’s (DOH) capacity to address the problems created by the anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, a health official said Tuesday.

“The schedule of WHO for this mission to happen would be about the middle of March,” DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said, adding that the team will consist of five to seven experts -- epidemiologists, dengue and infectious disease experts, and pathologists -- from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, United States, and United Kingdom who would help the local team in analyzing and evaluating dengue cases.

“They will be brought in just to boost our capacity,” said Domingo.

Hindi naman sila magtatagal dito ng talagang matagal (They will not stay here for long). They will be here maybe a few days to a week,“ he said, adding that the WHO agreed to cover the experts’ expenses.

The DOH earlier said they are tapping WHO experts to join the department’s efforts to address the issues that emerged following Dengvaxia manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur’s disclosure last November that vaccine recipients who did not have a previous infection could suffer severe dengue.

The DOH had administered Dengvaxia to more than 830,000 children under its school- and community-based dengue vaccination program prior to Sanofi’s disclosure.

Several deaths linked to the vaccine have been studied by a panel of experts from the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital. (PNA)