When N was still younger, I remember rushing to her pediatrician to inquire about a certain vaccine called Rotavirus because I believed my daughter might have missed it. This step was brought about by an advertisement that I saw in a local parenting magazine that I like. After my consultation with my daughter’s doctor, I’ve finally decided that N be given her first dose of Rotarix.
If you’re a mom who’s in-tune with your child’s vaccination schedule and regularly reads his baby book, you’re most likely familiar with the medical jargons that I’ve just mentioned. If not, don’t worry because I will try my best to go through these two dreadful diseases that kill a lot of Filipino children, according to expert studies.
It was my chance to better understand more about Diarrhea and Pneumonia during the disease awareness campaign conducted last week at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel. I’ve learned that these two diseases top the list of the main causes of death among Filipino children who are 5 years old and below.
Let’s talk about Pneumonia first:
Pneumonia is the single greatest cause of death in children worldwide. In fact, pneumonia is the leading cause of illness and death among Filipino children less than 5 years old. National statistics show an estimated 37 Filipino children die of pneumonia every day. (Black, R. et al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis. Lancet 2010; 375: 1969–87)
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung which affects primarily the microscopic air sacs known as alveoli. The typical symptoms of pneumonia include a cough, chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the bacterium S. pneumoniae also known as pneumococcus which can result to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia. It can also result to Acute Otitis Media (AOM) which is an ear infection, a common and highly prevalent disease. It also includes severe diseases such as meningitis, complicated pneumonia, and sepsis (blood poisoning), which occur when the pneumococcus “invades” the blood. The invasive forms of the pneumococcal disease are a category called Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD).
Globally, diarrhea is the second leading killer of children under 5 years of age, accounting for 1.4 million child deaths annually. Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (RVGE) is the common cause of diarrhea and severe dehydration in young children. It is also the leading reason of diarrheal hospitalizations and deaths among children. It is most severe and frequent in infants aged 3-24 months. (Kapikian AZ and Chanock RM. In: Fields Virology 3rd ed 1996: 1657–708, Lippincott-Raven, Philadelphia, PA, USA. 3. Tate J, et al. Lancet Infect Dis 2012; 12:136–41)
Rotavirus infects virtually every child within the first 5 years of life, irrespective of race or socio- economic status. That is why it is called a “democratic virus.” In the Philippines, diarrhea is the second leading cause of child mortality accounting for almost 5,000 deaths yearly, translating to more than 13 Filipino children dying due to diarrhea every day.
What can we do to protect our children against Diarrhea and Pneumonia?
As parents, we have the power to protect our children from getting diarrhea and pneumonia.
Dr. Sally Gatchalian, Department Executive Director, Philippine Foundation for Vaccine and President, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines enumerated some practical steps on how to protect our family against diarrhea and pneumonia.
Proper Sanitation and Good Physical Hygiene really play crucial parts in keeping a family’s healthy well-being.
Rockstar Mom of 2, Barbie Almalbis-Honasan also shared a story on how she almost lost her firstborn to Pneumonia. It was such a horrifying moment for her being a first time mother. This event made her wiser and drove her to decide on getting his second child vaccinated.
With the support of GSK Philippines, we pledge that we will spread hope for Filipino families by sharing these important facts on diarrhea and pneumonia that already claimed the lives of many Filipino children.
Barbie Almalbis-Honasan & Dr. Sally Gatchalian with the GSK Philippines Team
As one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, GSK continues to be a committed partner of both private healthcare practitioners and the government in the fight against childhood diseases, death and suffering around the world by offering health solutions for the reduction of overall diseases.
No matter what your standpoint on vaccination is, I always say that everything we need to know to make informed choices is already in front of us. We have our most-loved and well-trusted medical experts within our reach, and we can also turn the search engines into a powerful ally in helping us make that one important choice that could change the lives of our children.
As for today’s time, I am happy that more and more parents are starting to care — exerting more effort into studying and exploring their options that could affect the family’s well-being. As for me, I won’t place my child’s fate into chances. I choose to be aware and be open-minded about the things that come my way as a parent. Ask questions if you need.
Mommy Bloggers like me, Pehpot, Rochelle, Michelle and Kaye support GSK’s “No Hope Lost” Disease Awareness Campaign
There is certainly no hope lost for a Filipino family who empowers itself with proper knowledge that allows them to make intelligent choices.