Press Release/ 12 March 2018

The Department of Health (DOH) adheres to its responsibility to safeguard public health in the recent national concern surrounding the Dengvaxia immunization. In line with this, the DOH requested the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) for technical support in strengthening the monitoring and enhancing our surveillance system and adverse event analysis following immunization (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.

The DOH selected four (4) resource persons with relevant expertise and experience in dengue and AEFI. The panel is composed of: Prof. Siripen Kalayanarooj, Paediatrician, Thailand; Prof. Leo Yee Sin, Infectious Disease Specialist, Singapore; Dr. Scott Halstead, Dengue specialist, United States; and Prof. Kum Thong Wong, Pathologist, Malaysia. They will also be joined by immunization and AEFI resource persons from WHO, Dr. Madhava Ram Balakrishnanand Dr. Ananda Amarasinghe. The mission starts today, 12 March 2018.

These specialists will provide capacity enhancement training and exercises to members of the Philippine General Hospital-Dengue Investigative Task Force (PGH-DITF), National Adverse Events Following Immunization Committee (NAEFIC), the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau (EB) and DOH-National Immunization Program (NIP).

The PGH-DITF serves as an independent body that analyzes the Dengvaxia-related mortalities for causality association. On the other hand, the NAEFIC, DOH-EB and the NIP will review the non-fatal serious adverse events following immunization.

The teams will undergo a one (1) week workshop with the aforementioned specialists.