Manila, Philippines Health officials in the Philippines are struggling to keep a deadly outbreak of measles. The government accuses a significant drop in immunizations as a result of a scandal surrounding the dengue vaccine.
More than 70 people – mostly children – have died nationwide since January, with a high concentration of cases in the capital, Manila and surrounding provinces.
Over the country, over 4300 people have been infected with highly contagious disease since January, with a 122% increase over the previous year, according to the Ministry of Health.
Many are affected by poor families that depend on public health services for treatment and medicines, both of which the government is now hard to deliver.
In the center of Manila, the government-run San Lazaro Hospital is stuffed with measles, while doctors they say they are stepping up their preparations for more confessions.
In communities and villages, health workers urge hesitant parents to immunize their children against measles and other diseases such as polio, diphtheria, hepatitis and influenza.
In the past year, fewer parents used the government's free basic immunizations, fearing that vaccines could harm their children.
Health authorities say the vaccination rate among children has decreased from 85% to 60% and even 30% in some communities.
As a result, experts say many children are vulnerable to measles and unvaccinated adults also face a risk of infection.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III blames the vaccine for the threat from the state prosecutor's office, especially its chief lawyer, Persida Acosta, who runs an investigation into a public vaccination campaign against dengue fever in 2016 and 2017.
Marine infection, a contagious disease, killed around 110,000 people in 2017, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most of them are children under five.
The illness begins as a common cold, then progresses to high fever and worsening of the symptoms. It is contagious through direct contact and through the air. After infecting the respiratory tract, it quickly spreads throughout the body. Within a few days, rash occurs on the face and neck until the infected ones are fully covered.
The WHO says that deaths occur due to complications with the disease, such as encephalitis (an infection causing brain swelling), diarrhea, dehydration, ear infections or severe respiratory infections. WHO studies have found that Southeast Asia suffers more cases of measles than anywhere in the world.
In 2017, in Southeast Asia, there were 107,292 cases of doubt. The figure dropped to around 83,000 suspected cases next year.
Acace insists that the vaccine, called Dengvaxia, causes the deaths of dozens of children, although parallel investigations have not led to this conclusion.
The Chief Attorney was prominent in Dengvaxia's investigations by the Senate and the House of Representatives, presenting relatives of alleged victims and claiming that the autopsies conducted by her office found that death was "likely" related to the vaccine.
Acosta's public appearances were characterized by emotional outbursts that criticized other officials who described her behavior as "hysterical."
The dispute began in November 2017 when Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced that the vaccine might not be effective in some cases and could lead to severe dengue infections among people who did not previously have the disease.
At that time, more than 700,000 people, mostly students, had received at least one dose of Dengvaxia through a $ 67 million government project to eliminate dengue fever, one of the most common and deadly diseases among children in the Philippines.
Since then, the Department of Justice has filed cases of negligence and corruption against former President Benigno Akino, two of his cabinet secretaries and several other officials who have implemented the Dengvaxia immunization program.
Accosta's Office filed separate charges, including against Duke, who took the role of Health Secretary a month before Sanofi Pasteur's announcement, and who halted the Dengvaxia project in December 2017.
Duke calls the accusations "malicious and unfounded".
"The Dangwaxian flame, all this drama they did, has really caused damage to the integrity and effectiveness of the Ministry of Health," Duke told reporters, referring to the Public Attorney's Office.
"Politically Motivated Witch Hunt"
Acosta denied responsibility for the threat of a vaccine, saying it was "unfair" to blame the blame on her and her office.
"You may have to ask yourself if they have not campaigned for safe vaccines such as measles," says Acosta, referring to Duque and other health officials.
Salvador Panela, spokesman for President Rodrigo Dutere, defended Acosta, saying she "just does her job" by collecting accused victims of Dengwaxia to charge him.
Panellus, however, confirmed Duke's opinion that the Dengwaxy's affair is the cause of the fright of a vaccine that has led to an outbreak of measles.
In response, Duterte urged its health officials to step up their efforts to immunize children, urging parents to take advantage of the main vaccines they could get for free at healthcare centers.
Opposition figures associated with Akinoc criticized Akosta and accused her of using the Dengwax case to discredit Düther's political opponents whose campaign for the 2016 election campaign is taking advantage of the Akinic administration's frustration with the public.
"The country's immunization program is now in a hurry and our children's health is at risk because the vaccination is triggered by Acosta's desire to be in the good Duterte's certificate," said Senator Leila De Lima, who was sentenced to a drug charge . the killings in Dürther's war on drugs.
Senator Risa Hontisteros, who led the Health Commission, urged Acosta to resign.
She stood beside the graves of poor dead children to conduct a cruel campaign of disinformation, pseudosciences, and politically motivated witch hunt. Hontistros said.
"Her lies and hysteria contributed directly to the erosion of public confidence in our vaccination programs."