Saturday, March 22, 2014

No Hope Lost: The GSK Penumococcal and Rotavirus Disease Awareness Campaign

It's not all fashion, shopping and great finds here at MFO. 

Because I have two young kids, I make it my business to learn anything that has to do with motherhood, be it parenting advice, baby care, even childhood medical concerns. 

When GSK invited me and the SoMoms to attend GSK's No Hope Lost disease awareness campaign, I went, especially because the measles outbreak was a trending topic amongst my mommy friends. 

Even though the kids are up to date with their immunization schedules, I felt there was still value in hearing what healthcare companies and medical practitioners have to say when it comes to disease prevention.

But more than just measles, the topic involved serious stuff - pneumonia and diarrhea, which are the top two leading causes of mortality among children 5 years and below, not just here in the Philippines, but worldwide. Here are the scary stats:
Pneumonia, an inflammatory condition of the lungs, which causes coughs, chest pain, fever, chills, wheezing and difficulty in breathing, does not only result in the ear infection known as Acute Otitis Media, it is also the leading cause of illness and death in children less than 5 years old. In the Philippines, an estimated 37 Filipino children die of it every day.

Rotavirus, a democratic virus that most severely and frequently affects infants irrespective of race or socio-economic status within 3-24 months of life, is the cause of diarrhea and severe dehydration in young children. In the Philippines, diarrhea is the second leading cause of mortality, accounting for 5,000 deaths yearly.
Hosted by mom of four, Ria Tanjuatco-Trillo, GSK invited Barbie Almalbis-Honasan and Dr. Sally Gatchalian to share about their experience and knowledge in fighting killer diseases.

While many cannot relate to being a rockstar, we could all relate to No Hope Lost advocate and mom of two, Barbie narrated their pneumonia scare when her daughter was just a wee one. 

She shares that no mom should ever have to go through the experience, hence she has made it her mission to help educate other parents about the importance of taking protective measures like hand washing, sanitation, reducing household pollution, adequate nutrition and vaccination to avoid not just pneumonia but other preventable diseases.

Dr. Gatchalian, Philippine Foundation for Vaccination Director, was there to stress on the importance of not only informing parents about how serious diarrhea and pneumonia can be, but also educating them about vaccinations available that help prevent these killer diseases. "These diseases should not cause unnecessary suffering to young children", she says.

She also shares that the government has already been taking steps in reducing infant and child mortality caused by pneumonia and diarrhea by introducing the Rotavirus and PCV (Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine) in the Expanded Program of Immunization. To date, 700,000 Filipino children aged 6 weeks up to 6 months of age have been given free rotavirus vaccines.

I could not let the event pass without asking Dr. Gatchalian about the supposed link between autism and vaccinations, as this has become a very contested topic. 

She assured us that this myth has since been debunked, with Dr. Andrew Wakefield's study retracted from the medical journal that published his findings, and his name struck out of the General Medical Council. 

With that settled, parents should really make a conscious effort to take preventive measures to ensure that their kids are protected from dangerous diseases. If health is wealth, then our children's health are treasures we should fiercely guard from disease causing viruses.

Talk to your pediatrician to find out more about pneumonia and diarrhea and how you can prevent and protect your kids from it.

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