The Philippines government issued an update today on the measles epidemic situation in 2019. Through Mar. 12, 20,308 measles cases have been reported since the beginning of the year. In addition, the measles related death toll has reached 301.

measlesThe CALABARZON, Metro Manila and Central Luzon regions continue to report the most cases with 4,245, 4,058 and 3,169, respectively. The Western Visayas has also crossed the 1,000 case threshold reporting 1,150 cases to date.

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the only Muslim-majority region in the Philippines, health officials report securing an Islamic ruling,  or fatwa from religious leaders to convince mothers of children 0-59 months old to avail of the anti-measles vaccination at health centers across the region.

The fatwa aims to help promote vaccination to Muslims as a safe and efficient way to prevent common diseases.

BARMM minister of health, Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan said that saving lives is a holy act that “we must do as an act of faith.”

Year-to-date, BARMM has reported 421 measles cases, including four deaths.