City gov’t to start cholera vaccination in Iloilo City

City Hall personnel continue to gather samples from water refillers and wells in response to the Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) and cholera outbreaks. (Photo courtesy of Iloilo City Health Office)

By John Noel E. Herrera

As the city has been placed under a state of calamity status due to high cases of Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) and cholera, the Iloilo City Government is set to start the rollout of vaccines against these water-borne diseases.

This came after the city’s major water supplier, Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW), in tandem with Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD), donated 1,000 doses of cholera vaccine to the city government.

Iloilo City Health Office (ICHO) medical officer IV Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna said they are still currently identifying those areas that will be included first for the vaccination.

Fortuna added that the donated vaccines can be administered to individuals 1-year-old and above.

ICHO also said that villages with clustering of AGE and cholera cases will be prioritized.

Data from Iloilo City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (ICESU) as of Sept 20, 2022 indicated that Barangay Calaparan in Arevalo District has the highest number of AGE cases with 29, followed by Barangay Calumpang in Molo district with 25, and Barangay San Juan with 24 cases.

ICHO added that with the current trend of cases, the rollout of vaccines will focus on the pediatric age group as most cases of AGE and cholera came from the said age bracket with 374 cases so far.

With the declaration of state calamity, the city is also set to use its P12.5-million quick response fund (QRF) that will be utilized to procure all the needed medicines, and in implementing necessary preventive measures to combat the disease.

The city government also allotted P3 million out of the said fund to procure medicines which will be used to buy more vaccines.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas also said that the city government together with the health agencies and other concerned departments are continuously doing what they can to ease the cases.

“We will try also to look for some more vaccines kay ti may naaprubahan naman ang city council nga fund para mausar sa mga kinahanglanon,” Treñas added.

Aside from the vaccines, MPIW also donated 300 drums of chlorine to the city government as most cases of AGE and cholera in the metro are linked to deep wells – one of the main sources of water of the residents in the metro.

Data from ICESU shows that there are 30 active AGE cases in Iloilo City so far, with 19 reported new cases on Tuesday, Sept 20, 2022.

The city already logged a total of 637 AGE cases, but 93 percent or 594 cases have already recovered, while 24 are still admitted, six are under treatment at home, and 13 have died.

AGE has also already affected 122 out of the 180 barangays in the metro.

Molo district still has the highest AGE cases (145), followed by Arevalo (114), City Proper – Tanza (72), Jaro 1 (68), City Proper – Sto. Rosario (60), La Paz (53), Mandurriao (51), Lapuz (50), and Jaro II (24).

Meanwhile, there are already 15 confirmed cholera cases in the city, but all of them were already discharged and have recovered.

Despite having lower reported cases over the weekend, ICESU chief Dr. Marigold Calsas emphasized that a downtrend is still uncertain.

“If it is the weekend, everybody stays at home, and those who may manifest symptoms just go around and ignore their stomachache. If they are okay on Saturdays and Sundays, without any interventions, symptoms will recur on Mondays or Tuesdays and maybe that’s the time they will report it,” Calsas said.