MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) said six medical experts from World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in Manila on Monday to help the agency in establishing a stronger surveillance and assessment system among Dengvaxia recipients.
“We want to have a stronger surveillance system which is more tailor fitted towards Dengvaxia (recipients),” said DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo in an interview.
Domingo said they are eager to get the help of experts who will be able to enhance the existing surveillance system for Dengvaxia since based on their initial assessment, dengue vaccine is different from other vaccines that were under the DOH immunization program.
He added that the presence of experts can further strengthen the capacity of local counterparts in analyzing the adverse events following immunization (AEFI).
DOH has requested WHO help in providing technical support in order to strengthen the monitoring and enhancing the agency’s surveillance system and AEFI in the future.
“The thrust of this special mission is to strengthen the capacity of local experts to analyze adverse events following immunization, including with dengue vaccine. The aim is to provide the best possible screening of adverse reactions to immunization for the people of the Philippines,” Domingo said.
The WHO experts –Prof. Siripen Kalayanarooj, a pediatrician (Thailand); Prof. Leo Yee Sin, an infectious disease specialist (Singapore); Dr. Scott Halstead, a dengue specialist (United States); and Prof. Kum Thong Wong, a pathologist (Malaysia)– will be joined by immunization and AEFI resource persons from WHO, Dr. Madhava Ram Balakrishnanand Dr. Ananda Amarasinghe.
Domingo said the specialists will provide capacity enhancement training and exercises to members of the Philippine General Hospital-Dengue Investigative Task Force,, National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee, the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau and DOH-National Immunization Program.
The teams will undergo a one-week workshop with the WHO specialists.
“It’s WHO funded (the training workshop). We had requested and they identified the experts. The Philippines did not pay anything for it,” Domingo said. PNA-northboundasia.com