THE Department of Health Regional Office in Western Visayas (DOH Region 6) today appealed to parents in the region to have their children vaccinated and provide them with protection against ailments such as meningitis and to curb the spread of tuberculosis (TB).
According to DOH-6 Senior Health Program Officer Christine Mosqueda, the Western Visayas region recorded 1,134 cases of TB among children in 2021, 782 cases in 2020 and 1,488 in 2019.
“Our target supposedly for the number of children to be detected is 12 percent of the total TB cases notified,” the official said.
DOH-6 was able to identify three percent in 2021 from the 12-percent target, data collected from on-ground DOH personnel revealed.
The office said they cannot pinpoint if the incidents of TB in the region, which covers ages 0 to 14 years, according to the country’s TB program, is alarming.
However, there were missing cases that were not examined or reported that may have already transmitted to others or even got worse.
Because of the stigma brought about by the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), it may be possible that people would tend to hide their true state of health, especially if they have cough, a symptom that is the same as TB and COVID-19, according to Mosqueda.
In an online briefing by the DOH last Monday, Dr. Jerrymae Blasurca, a pediatrician, said that the TB vaccine called bacille Calmette-Guerin (BGC) that is given during birth can help avoid contracting the disease.
“BCG prevents the severe type, particularly TB meningitis. There is a 70 percent chance of death once a child has TB meningitis,” according to Blasurca.
On the other hand, Mosqueda said it is important that an investigation is done once TB is discovered among children, it is possible that an adult may already have TB coming from the home or from interactions outside of the house.
To ensure that children less than two years old will be vaccinated, the DOH-6 have conducted routine and catch up vaccination during the last Thursday and Friday of every month from April to June.
The campaign targets to reach 52,000 children in the entire region that will ensure that they will get the primary series of the vaccine.