A few weeks ago, I had a bad case of diarrhea and vomiting. I took it lightly and even went on with my shoot as I thought I just ingested bad food. But a few days after my episode, my kids caught it. I panicked and immediately took them to their doctor for a quick check up. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything serious, but still it was a mild case of
stomach flu gastroenteritis. I swear, it was one of those mommy moments when I just didn’t know what to do. It was heartbreaking seeing my kids suffer, as I’m sure no mother would ever want to see. I wish during times like this that I could take away their suffering and be the one who’s sick instead.
Since this incident happened, I’ve been more scared of how serious diarrhea can be. As it can be a deadly disease if not treated immediately. Then last week I got invited to attend an awareness campaign spearheaded by GSK, called “LOST”, a pneumococcal and rotavirus disease awareness campaign. I didn’t pass this opportunity to learn more about these two life-threatening diseases- pneumonia and diarrhea.
The event started off with a video of mothers who had firsthand experiences with pneumonia and diarrhea among their children. It was heartbreaking to watch as you can see it in their eyes how they almost lost their children to these two killer diseases. Thus, the campaign “No Hope Lost” was launched. It’s an awareness campaign on the heavy burden of pneumonia and diarrhea as the top leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the Philippines, specifically among children 5 years old and below. If left unchecked, it can potentially lead to devastating consequences.
Barbie Almalbis-Honasan, a rock star, mother of two and LOST campaign advocate, talked about her close encounter with pneumonia with one of her children. She got the scare of her life when they thought her child had pneumonia, luckily it was proven otherwise. Since then, she vows to do whatever it takes to prevent her kids from catching these two killer diseases.
Dr. Sally Gatchalian, Dept. Exec. Director of Philippine Foundation for Vaccine and President of Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines said “Now is the best time to raise awareness on pneumonia and diarrhea prevention. These diseases should not cause any unnecessary suffering to your children.”
Did you know that pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide? It is the leading cause of illness and death among Filipino children less than 5 years old. Globally, it causes 1.1 million deaths annually and 37 Filipino children die of pneumonia everyday. Pneumonia is a severe form of acute lower respiratory infection that specifically affects the lungs. The symptoms of pneumonia include rapid or difficulty breathing, cough, fever, chills, headaches, loss of appetite and wheezing. Pneumonia doesn’t favor any weather condition. Whether it is summer or the rainy season, it occurs throughout the year.
While diarrhea globally, is the second leading killer of children under 5 years of age. Accounting for 1.4 million child death annually and about 13 Filipino children die of diarrhea every day. Diarhhea is defined as having loose or watery stools at least three times per day or more frequently than normal for an individual. Acute cases can lead to significant fluid loss and dehydration, which may result in death or other severe consequences. Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE) is the common cause of diarrhea and severe dehydration in young children and is the leading reason of diarrhea hospitalisation and death. It is most severe and frequent in infants ager 3 to 24 months. Rotavirus can incubate on your hands for hours and if toys and other objects are contaminated, incubation can lasts for days. It is called a “democratic virus” because it is irrespective of race or socio-economic status, as developed and developing countries have same incidents of diarrhea.
In 2012, the Philippine government has acknowledge this burden and has introduced Rotavirus Vaccine (RV) in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) where 700,000 Filipino children aged 6 weeks up to 6 months were given free rotavirus vaccines. In 2013, Department of Health (DOH) levels up the fight against the top killer of Filipino children by including Pneumoccocal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) in the EPI. The effort of both the local government and DOH is hoped to help reduce infant and child mortality by 2/3 come 2015. Their goal is to have better access to existing vaccines which can prevent pneumonia to 3 per 1,000 children and diarrhea to 1 per 1,000 children.
Unicef and World Health Organization (WHO) have created an integrated Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD)- Protect, Prevent and Treat Framework.
Protect children by establishing good health practices from birth.
Exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, have an adequate complimentary feeding and take vitamin A supplementation.
Treat children who are ill from pneumonia and diarrhea with appropriate treatment.
Improved care seeking and referral. Do case management at health facilities and community level. Provide supplies such as zinc, antibiotics and oxygen and continue feeding, breastfeeding included.
Prevent children becoming ill from pneumonia and diarrhea.
Always wash hands with soap and provide safe drinking water and sanitation.Reduce household air pollution (such as omitting the use of wood stove, cleaner air source-clean air conditioners and electric fans) and of course have your children vaccinated with PCV and rotavirus.
“No Hope Lost” campaign is initiated by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) which embodies the need for immediate action to get children vaccinated against pneumonia and diarrhea. This awareness campaign will soon be launched nationwide through radio ads, print notices such as flyers and posters, to help reach more people and gain more support in saving children’s lives by preventing these two killer disease through vaccination.
The guests during the event who believe that taking preventive measures such as getting vaccinated for PCV and rotavirus were asked to take a photo with the signature and post it. It serves as a pledge to support the drive to build awareness on disease prevention through vaccination.
The SoMoms support the No Hope Lost Campaign.
From left: Patty of Nonstopbabble.com, Conci of Blairb*tchbunny.com, Christine of Manila Fashion Observer, yours truly, Cai of Apples and Dumplings, Tiff of Breakfast with Tiffany and Eliza of The Painter’s Wife.
While we promote cleanliness and good hygiene in our family, many infectious diseases can spread regardless of how clean we are. Thus, we need protection through vaccination. Read more about the myths and facts about vaccination at the WHO website.
Truly prevention is always better than cure. Would you wait until your child gets affected by pneumonia or diarrhea before you do something about it? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Ask your child’s pediatrician about preventive measures against pneumococcal and rotavirus diseases and be informed today.