Combating Measles Outbreak: Urgent Action in the Bangsamoro Region


Islamic religious leaders have stepped forward to support the BARMM government’s efforts in combatting the measles outbreak.


Three children have died due to measles over the past 10 weeks in Bangsamoro region, with an alarming 592 additional cases reported during the same period.

These incidents shed light on a concerning trend exacerbated by misconceptions and superstitions surrounding vaccinations, contributing to low turnouts in immunization campaigns.

Historically, under the now-defunct regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which spanned 27 years, challenges in health education and accessibility to vaccinations persisted. With the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in 2019, efforts were intensified to address these systemic issues.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Islamic religious leaders have stepped forward to support the BARMM government’s efforts in combatting the measles outbreak. They invoke religious teachings emphasizing the preservation of life through proper healthcare while dispelling superstitions, which are deemed taboo in Islam.

Minister Rizaldy Piang of the Ministry of Health-BARMM announced the declaration of a measles outbreak in the autonomous region, signaling the need for immediate action.

However, challenges persist in reaching remote areas, where healthcare infrastructure is limited, and misinformation may proliferate unchecked.

In Lanao del Sur alone, 220 children have been afflicted with measles since January, resulting in two tragic fatalities. Sulu, another heavily affected province, reported 91 cases and one fatality during the same period. The gravity of the situation underscores the importance of concerted efforts to address gaps in healthcare delivery and education.

Beyond these provinces, cases have also been reported in Cotabato City and Tawi-Tawi, highlighting the widespread nature of the outbreak. Even in regions where the number of cases is relatively low, such as Cotabato City and Tawi-Tawi, vigilance remains paramount to prevent further spread.

As the BARMM government, in collaboration with religious and community leaders, mobilizes resources to contain the outbreak, it is imperative that efforts focus not only on treatment but also on preventative measures, including robust vaccination campaigns and public health awareness initiatives.

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