Regional agencies raise alert; measles vax drive on in Lanao Norte

By Nef Luczon

April 4, 2024, 9:01 pm

<p>Google map of Baloi town, Lanao del Norte.</p>

Google map of Baloi town, Lanao del Norte.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Government agencies in Northern Mindanao have joined the region's Department of Health (DOH-10) in intensifying measles vaccination to prevent an outbreak in Lanao del Norte.

In a statement Thursday, Antonio Sugarol, director of the Office of Civil Defense-10, advised the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Council that DOH-10 has raised a "white alert" status in support of the immunization drive in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Balo-i has recorded 36 confirmed measles cases, and Sugarol urged local government DRRM units to work with DOH to monitor measles as well as pertussis, or the "whooping" cough disease.

Balo-i Mayor Hanifah Ali also ordered the creation of a municipal-level Task Force on Measles and its immediate response activation of the emergency operations center.

Measles in BARMM

Balo-i is close to the boundary of Lanao del Sur province, which is under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The Ministry of Health in the BARMM (MOH-BARMM) recorded the prevalence of measles cases as early as last year.

Since March 27, Dr. Suplicio Henry Legaspi Sr., the DOH-10 Director-IV, said all Mindanao regional offices were tasked with assisting MOH-BARMM in vaccinating all children aged zero to 10.

"Concurrently, the CHD-NM (Center for Health and Development-Northern Mindanao) has deployed additional health workers to Balo-i, which is also experiencing an outbreak of measles, to aid in their immunization response," he said.

Dengue cases

Meanwhile, the Lanao del Norte provincial government is not only addressing the measles' outbreak in Balo-i but also cases of dengue in several of its municipalities.

As of March 24, the Provincial Health Office recorded 516 dengue cases, with 121 confirmed cases, 262 suspected cases, and 133 probable cases.

Aside from Balo-i, most of the data were collected from the municipalities of Magsaysay, Pantar, and Sapad.

Despite shortages in vaccine supply from the DOH central office, the PHO assured to make every effort to assist in providing necessary vaccines to intensify prevention efforts in affected communities. (PNA)