Measles cases in Bangsamoro region drop, but still at 361 so far this year

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THE MINISTRY of Health (MoH) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) reported 361 confirmed measles cases from Jan. to March 10 this year, a significant drop from 1,260 cases in the same period last year. The highest number was recorded in Lanao del Sur at 230, including 101 in the capital Marawi City. Maguindanao had 119; Tawi-Tawi, 11; and Sulu, 1. There was no confirmed case in Basilan. In a press conference Tuesday, MoH Minister Safrullah M. Dipatuan said the ministry is intensifying efforts to address the preventable disease, including the promotion of immunization. He said, “Immunization prevents deaths and suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus, polio, pneumonia, hepatitis, diphtheria, rubella, and mumps.” With the BARMM having a Muslim majority population, the MoH issued a fatwa or Islamic ruling earlier this week, in coordination with the Regional Darul Ifta (religious leaders), to clarify that the vaccines are permissible under the Islamic faith and encourage parents to bring their children for vaccination at the health centers. — Tajallih S. Basman