Philippines: Measles Outbreak EPOA operation update n° MDRPH032

A. Situation analysis

6 February 2019: The DOH declared a measles outbreak in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region 3 (Central Luzon). PRC escalated preparations at chapter and National HQ levels and started to mobilize community health volunteers for rapid assessment and disease surveillance.

7 February 2019: DOH announced that the measles outbreak had spread to more areas in Luzon and Visayas in CALABARZON, Region 6 (Western Visayas) and Region 7 (Central Visayas).

12 February 2019: IFRC launched CHF181,417 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support PRC plan of action.

6 March 2019: IFRC launched an emergency appeal, seeking a total amount of CHF2 million for PRC to scale up its emergency response.

3 April 2019: IFRC Emergency Plan of Action published.

Description of the outbreak

On 7 February 2019, the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) declared the first outbreaks of measles in five Regions (Region NCR, and Central Luzon Regions III, IV-A, VI, VII). Since then til 6 April, the number of regions with outbreaks has increased to 17.

From 1 January to 27 April 2019, there have been 33,559 cases with 466 deaths recorded by DOH. For the same period last year, there were 7,618 cases and 65 deaths. In the whole of 2018, there were 21,812 measles cases reported with 199 deaths.

So far for this year on average, over four children are dying every day from the current measles outbreaks.

The map shows the spread of cases and corresponding deaths.

To address the outbreak, the DOH mounted another round of supplemental immunization program targeting 3.8 million children aged 6 to 59 months. DOH issued guidelines for nationwide measles vaccination accompanied by Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Vitamin A distribution, prioritising unvaccinated children between 6 and 59 months; schoolchildren from kindergarten to grade 6; and adults who voluntarily wish to be vaccinated against measles.

Summary of current response PRC’s Operations Centre is collecting and collating all the data on measles cases and PRC’s ongoing response and issue regular updates. The PRC Health Service through their chapters and trained volunteers continues to scale up the monitoring of cases and the response to affected communities on the ground. PRC is coordinating with the DOH Epidemiology Bureau. For relevant information sharing and support, PRC also continues to engage and coordinate with the NCR Infectious Diseases Cluster.

In support of the DOH, PRC have carried out the following activities:

  • mobilized six Measles Care Units (MCUs) to help support hospitals that were being overwhelmed with measles cases. So far 3,442 patients have been treated.

  • mobilized vaccination teams to support the mass vaccinations of children. So far 16,956 children have been vaccinated.

See Section C for the latest activities. For PRC activities the location of MCU’s and vaccinations carried out is shown on the following link According to the joint UNICEF-WHO1 Situation Report up to 3 April 2019, 4,758,520 individuals have been vaccinated against measles and rubella: 2,964,843 aged 6 to 59 months, 825,725 school-going children, and 967,952 children older than 12.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in-country PRC is leading the overall response operation. PRC works with the IFRC, ICRC and 10 Partner National Societies in country: American Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, German Red Cross,
Japanese Red Cross Society, The Netherlands Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross and Qatar Red Crescent Society.

The Netherlands Red Cross supports the appeal through remote data analysis. In the first phase of emergency response, focus will be on data analysis on health data collected during the outbreak, identifying trends, risk areas and visualization of the information. In the second phase of the operation, the support will focus on analysing the field data collected by PRC for the vaccination campaign targeting.