MANILA — A Department of Health (DOH) official assured members of Gabriela-Metro Manila on Wednesday that they will extend medical services and assistance to children who received the dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
DOH Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana, in a dialogue with Gabriela members who held a rally in front of the department to air their concerns over the cost of monitoring the children and possibly their hospitalization, explained that they had been placing information materials in schools and communities where the dengue vaccination had been conducted.
Laxamana said they had begun distributing identification cards that indicate that the recipients of the controversial vaccine are in a department master list, which would enable them to access services meant for them.
“Kaya kami ay gumagawa ng accurate master list para itong mga bata na ito ay kasama sa binabantayan natin in the next how many years na kung anuman ang benepisyo na nakalaan sa kanila ay yun ang unti-unti naming tinutugunan ngayon (We are drawing up an accurate master list so that these children whom we will be monitoring in the next few years would get the benefits allotted for them),” she explained.
The health official said the issuance of the ID would enable the DOH to monitor if the children were admitted in a medical facility through an information management system.
These IDs, she said, were being distributed in schools and community health centers where the vaccine had been administered.
Regarding hospitalization, Laxamana said they had already given government and private hospitals guidelines to accept patients who received the dengue vaccine.
She said they were also making arrangements for laboratory exams to be given for free, and were informing parents that PhilHealth is ready to shoulder the children’s medical expenses.
The department, she added, was also coordinating with local governments to provide patients transportation fares to get to the hospital.
The Gabriela members, led by Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, said they had put up a Dengvaxia Watch and Hotline to monitor the concerns of parents of these children, especially those living below the poverty line.
“Ngayon po, medyo nakakabahala po ito dahil yung last administration, ito na ang ginawa. So itong administrasyon ngayon, dapat maasikaso nito ang mga kabataan na naturukan ng Dengvaxia (What the past administration has done is causing a lot of worries. The present administration should thus attend to the plight of children who received Dengvaxia),” said Brosas.
Meanwhile, in an interview, Elizabeth Maynigo of Marikina City said that while her two children, both in Grade 6, were not showing signs of dengue, she joined the rally because she was worried about their safety and the length of time they have to be monitored.
“Yung pinaka-concern talaga yung mabigyan ng pang medical assistance, lalo na sa mga nanay na talagang mahihirap dahil wala naman silang kakayanan pa magpagamot (The greatest concern is medical assistance, especially for parents who do not have the capability to shoulder medical expenses),” Maynigo said.
She added that she was pleased and quite enlightened about the steps they need to take to access medical services for the Dengvaxia recipients. (PNA/Photos by Leilani S. Junio)