The Philippines measles epidemic has topped 16,000 cases through the first two months of the year, including 261 fatalities and the CEO of the Philippines Red Cross says they need to get children vaccinated.

Philippines schoolkids Image/eunsookim7
Philippines schoolkids

Philippines Red Cross Chairman and CEO, Richard Gordon said: “Some 2.6 million children could be at risk, so we are drawing on the skills and dedication of our two million Red Cross volunteers to go door-to-door and neighborhood-to-neighborhood to reach 100 per cent of our unvaccinated children in the country within 12 months.

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The Philippines Red Cross, in close cooperation with the Department of Health, is rolling out a massive social mobilization campaign across seven of the hardest hit regions to provide vaccination and raise awareness in an effort to contain the outbreak. With many local hospitals overwhelmed, the Red Cross is also operating seven measles tents (Measles Care Units) to help with the clinical management and medical care of highly contagious patients, and to prevent the infection of other patients and visitors coming to the hospitals.

IFRC has launched an emergency appeal of 2 million Swiss francs (1.99 million US dollars) to enable Philippines Red Cross to vaccinate 260,000 people, raise awareness about immunization and provide clinical support for 12 over-crowded hospitals.

Recent global declines in vaccination rates resulted in more than 110,000 measles deaths worldwide in 2017. The Philippines outbreak coincides with other measles outbreaks across Europe, the United States, New Zealand and Madagascar where declines in vaccination rates have also been observed.