Dr. Anna Ong-Lim

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Creatively Taking a Shot for Life: A Chinese New Year Themed Advocacy Party

Published Enero 21, 2012 by jptan2012

Last week, I got an email invite to attend a Chinese New Year’s (CNY) party. I’ve attended several CNY party but this one is different because it says that the party is a Mystery Scandal Dinner.

Being a foodie and a feng shui enthusiast I decided to attend the party more out of curiosity and also because I really haven’t tried the food in Mango Tree Bistro. I called up Jeff Tan of Idea Buffet (A Marketing and Media Mileage Consultancy Firm) to inquire as to what is the nature of the party, I initially thought that its a food event, but Jeff Tan clarified that it’s not and refuses to share me what is the nature of the event. He said – IF I WERE TO SHARE WITH YOU THE REAL NATURE OF THE EVENT, THEN IT WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN CALLED MYSTERY.’ My love for food and mystery really prompted me to go and attend the party.

When I got to Mango Tree Bistro in Trinoma, I was met by Jeff Tan of Idea Buffet. After exchanging a few words of niceties, he introduced me to one of the host of the event. Edison, as he introduced himself, then found me a seat. I thought it was kind of weird because it seems like a private party. The weirdest part is it appeared to be a private party. Though it’s kind of weird also that a private party would hire a PR agency to do the inviting and also most of the guest are bloggers.

Anyway, they really made an effort to give the feel of a CNY.

Happy New Year in Chinese Character.

After awhile an emcee started the party, he introduced the host of the CNY party. Kind of weird because I don’t know any of them, on top of that the main host of the party was introduced as the patriarch of the Sy family and also the newly elected president of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. I know for a fact that he’s not the president of the Filipino – Chinese Chamber of Commerce! Add to the mystery is the fact that he introduced his children, one of them is the youngest neuro-surgeon of St. Luke’s Global, but the patriarch looks really young to have a neuro-surgeon son.

I approached Jeff Tan to inquire as to what really is happening, and he just told me to be a little patient.

Soon a drama unfolded! Apparently, the Sy family are a family of achievers, but the oldest child, who happens to be a daughter is a ‘disgraced’ to the family because she is the only one who failed to finish school and she is also a under achiever. The other children are both over achievers both in academic and in sports.

The Patriarch who is also the newly elected president of the Filipino - Chinese Chamber of Commerce

The patriarch with his wife and the neuro-surgeon son.

The long ‘buried’ family issue soon surfaced! Apparently, the patriarch has been doubting whether the under achiever daughter is really his’! Naturally, the mom got mad and they had a fight! There was shouting and I thought they might even become physically violent. But an entrance of a doctor saved them.

The patriarch with the eldest daughter whom they considered as a disgraced to the family.

According to the doctor, she knows the reason why the daughter is different from the others.

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim gave a very good explanation. Apparently, there is a medical reason for this. I will not attempt to discuss everything that she discussed because I’m sure I won’t be able to get all the facts really straight. Just find below a ‘copy-pasted’ literature about the disease that was share with us that night.

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim explained as to what caused the daughter's low intelligence, low energy and unsteady footing, and short height.

But before that, I would like to say that the daughter’s pagka-bobo (low IQ), pagka-lampa (unsteady footing) and pagka-mahina (low in energy), and pagka-pandak (short in height) is caused by diarrhea which is in turn cause by a virus called Rota or Rotavirus. In fact, this virus is so dangerous that it even accounts for the second leading cause of death amongst children. Again, in fact, it kills 13 Filipino Children everyday!!! Isn’t that scary?! Who would have thought that diarrhea can be so fatal?!

The good news is that according to Dr. Anna Ong – Lim, DOH has already announced that a vaccine to prevent the disease is now included in the immunization program of the DOH. Dr. Anna Ong-Lim also shared that there are 2 kinds of vaccines available in the market. She said one was made by GSK and the other was made by MSD. She mentioned the brands but I really can’t remember them, but naturally they both starts with the word ‘ROTA’. A short internet search revealed their name but I think its better not to include them here because I might have gotten the wrong names.

However, I believe I should share that the 2 vaccines, as shared by Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, basically achieves the same goal, and that is preventing diarrhea. Some members press for the difference, here, I thought Dr. Anna Ong-Lim had a little discomfort in sharing the specifics, but from what I get from what she shared, is that one of the vaccine had to be administered 3 times, and the other 2 times. My initial thought is that, if you can afford it, its better to get the 3 times rather than the 2 times because it might provide better cure or prevention. But I was wrong, according to Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, ultimately they provide the same kind and level of protection. A follow-up internet research showed that in fact the 2 times provides an earlier protection compared to the 3 times. Meaning, if I understood it correctly, the 3 times is not as potent that is why it has to be given 3 times. The other one is more potent thus it can be given 2 times only. Plus, because of the fact it’s given twice you are able to get earlier prevention. But, that’s just base on my research, please check with your doctor or people who are knowledgeable about this.

Anyway, I’ll just let the fast facts and article shared with us in the event do the ‘talking’, so that I don’t run the risk of giving you the wrong information.

Also kudos to the people behind this event. I really hope that we get to be invited to more activities such as this. Very creative and very informative. If all health activity are presented in this manner, surely more people will write about worthy health news.

THE DIARRHEA FAST FACTS:

Background

Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in the Philippines and worldwide. Every minute, 1 child dies of diarrhea worldwide. In the Philippines, at least 13 children under five years old die every day.

In recent months, Secretary Enrique Ona of the Department of Health has announced to media its intention to included Rotavirus Vaccination as part of the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) in 2012. This is aligned to P-Noy Administration’s direction and goal of Universal Health Care and moves the Philippines forward in achieving Millennium Development Goal 4(Reduce Child Mortality) by 2015.

The Philippines will become the very first Asian Country to implement Rotavirus Vaccination in the EPI.

Some of the countries that have Rotavirus Vaccine in the EPI/UMV: USA, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Germany Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and GAVI eligible countries-Bolivia, Honduras

 

Diarrhea a Very Serious and Deadly Disease

Diarrhea is the second leading killer of children aged less than 5 years old in the Philippines and Worldwide.

In Developing Countries Rotaviral Diarrhoea and Vomiting Kills a Child Every Minute4

In the Philippines, more than 13 Filipino children die due to diarrhea every day. This accounts for at least 12% of deaths among children under five in the country2 Rotavirus is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea in children worldwide and the Philippines5,6

About 40% of diarrhea cases in the Philippines is due to Rotavirus- Asian Surveillance Network data (ARSN Publication)7

Diarrhea also leads to serious long term effects to a child’s development?8 Recurrent Diarrhea may lead to long term effects of a child’s development in terms of Height, Energy Levels and Cognitive abilities.8

i.                  Diarrhea affects nutrient absorption and leads to lasting impact on the growth and development of a child.8

ii. Growth shortfalls of up to 8.2 cm by age 7 years have been attributed to early childhood diarrhea long-lasting8

iii.                  Profound effects on fitness, cognition, and schooling are also observed. 8

This means that each day, 4,000 children die of diarrhea.3

Its burden is greatest in the developing countries of Asia and Africa where access to clean

water, sanitation, and urgent medical care may be limited.

It has been calculated that repeated bouts of diarrhea in the first 2 years of life can lead to a loss of 10 IQ points and 12 months of schooling by age 9 years8

3.                  What are the direct and indirect costs associated with diarrhea?

Hospitalization due to acute gastroenteritis/diarrhea bears very serious impact on the patient and parents’ quality of life as well as their livelihood.9 62% of working caregivers had an average of P1, 000.00 income loss per day.9 Amongst working caregivers, almost all missed 1-3 days of work or more9

More than half of the caregivers had spent more than P5,000.00 (an average of P7,870.00) for all the medical expenses9

4.                  Rotavirus vaccination in the Expanded Program for Immunization of the Department of Health is Aligned to P-Noy’s direction Universal Health Care Program

a.                  “Sixty percent of our countrymen who succumb to sickness die without seeing a doctor.”- Pnoy’s Challenge on the need for Universal Healthcare Program for all Filipinos10

b. One of key health policy direction of Aquino administration is attainment of MDG 4 specifically reduction of infant mortality rate10

5.                  Rotavirus vaccination in the Expanded Program for Immunization of the Department of Health moves the Philippines towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goal

b.                  Diarrhea is the 2nd leading killer of children under five2 c.                  More than 13 Filipino children die due to diarrhea every day. This accounts for at least 12%

of deaths among children under five in the country1 e.                  By preventing diarrheal deaths among children thru rotavirus vaccination, we are able to

reduce substantially overall child mortality in the Philippines towards achievement of MDG4 by 2015.

What are the ways to prevent diarrhea?

Rotavirus is highly contagious and stable in the environment. It can survive on hands for hours; on solid surfaces for days and remains stable and infective in stools for a week.13

Improvements in water and sanitation do not significantly reduce rotavirus diarrhea burden,

which is why in developed countries like Australia, USA, Spain and UK rotavirus still

contributes around 50% of the diarrhea cases and rotavirus vaccination has been successful

in reducing the burden by as much as 75.6% reduction in hospitalization due to rotaviral

diarrhea14

Rotavirus infection often causes vomiting, which makes oral rehydration therapy far less

effective15

 

7. Rotavirus Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent diarrhea related childhood deaths under 5years of age.16

 

World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommends that rotavirus vaccines be included in all national immunization programs, particularly in countries where diarrhea deaths account for more than 10% of deaths in children younger than 5 years3

In the Philippines, Diarrhea is the 2nd leading killer of children under 52 More than 13 Filipino children die due to diarrhea every day. This accounts for at least 12% of deaths among children under five in the country 1

 

8. Value of Vaccination vs. Treatment

Every year about 3 million deaths are prevented 750,000 children are saved from disability due to vaccines17 With the exception of clean drinking water, vaccines are the most effective intervention in reducing and preventing the return of infectious diseases. It is considered as one of the greatest public health achievements in the world18

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommends that rotavirus vaccines be included in all national immunization programs, particularly in countries where diarrhea deaths account for more than 10% of deaths in children younger than 5 years3 In the Philippines, Diarrhea is the 2nd leading killer of children under 52

More than 13 Filipino children die due to diarrhea every day. This accounts for at least 12% of deaths among children under five in the country 1

References:

1.                  Field Health Service Information system 2008 NEC Department of Health, Manila 2.                  Black RE, Cousens S, Johnson HL, et al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in

2008: a systematic analysis. The Lancet 2010; 375:1969-1987

3. 4.                  Huilan A, et al. WHO Bull 1991; 69: 549–55. 5.                  Linhares and Bresee, Pan Am J Public Health 2000 8(5) 305-331 6.                  Santos MIBL, et al. Acta Medica Philippina 2005; 39 (1):36–42; Paje-Villar E, et al. Ann Trop Med

Parasitol 1994; 88(1): 53–8; 7.                  ARSN Publication 8.                  Moore SR et al. Int J Epidemiol 2001; 30: 1457-64.; Guerrant DI et al. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999;

61: 707-13.;Niehaus M et al. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2002; 66: 590-3. Ndamba J et. Al. Ann Trop

Med Parasitol 1993 vol. 87, 553-561. 9.                  Quality of Life Assessment of the Impact on the Caregivers of Children Hospitalized for Acute

Gastroenteritis in the Philippines

10. Lecture Entitled, Aquino Health Agenda: Universal Health Care by Enrique T. Ona, 2nd Philippine Health Outlook Forum 22 October 2010

11. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ 12. 13. PENELOPE H. DENNEHY, MD, Transmission of rotavirus and other enteric pathogens in the home 14. Gimenez-Sanchez F. 17th ESPID. June 9-13, 2009. Brussels, Belgium. 15. http://www.path.org/projects/rotavirus_vaccine.php 16. State of the World’s Vaccine and Immunization, WHO 2003 17. Ehreth J. Vaccine 2003; 21:4105-4117 18. V.Usonis, 2008

 

THE LITERARY ARTICLE ABOUT THE DISEASE:

 

Taking A Shot For Life

You don’t know Mark. Or Sarah. Or Michael. And you never will.

Same with Andrew, Amor, or Katrina.

You will never hear Jairus’s laughter. Kenneth will never reach kindergarten. Myra and Elizabeth will never get to join any school activities.

Noelle, Brian, and Carlo won’t even get to throw their first birthdays.

Thirteen children, dead—and that’s just for today. Tomorrow, thirteen more in the Philippines will suffer the same fate which could’ve been averted.

Parents, be alarmed: don’t dismiss “pagtatae” (diarrhea) as a trivial incovenience. In the Philippines and worldwide, diarrhea is the second leading killer of children aged less than 5 years old1. Everyday, 1,500 children around the globe die because of rotavirus-related diarrhea2.

Those who escape death may not be so lucky as well. Because diarrhea affects nutrient absorption, it leads to lasting impact on the growth and development of a child.  Growth shortfalls of up to 8.2 cm by age 7 years have been attributed to early childhood diarrhea, with profound effects on fitness, cognition, and schooling observed among children who experience repeated bouts3. In fact, it has been calculated that children who regularly suffer from it in the first 2 years of life can lead to a loss of 10 IQ points and 12 months of schooling by age 9 years3.

With  the reduction of child mortality as part of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations, saving children from rotavirus-related deaths counts among the most important missions countries must take—especially as this disease is highly preventable through vaccination. The World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommends that rotavirus vaccines be included in all national immunization programs, particularly in countries where diarrhea deaths account for more than 10% of deaths in children younger than 5 years1. In the Philippines, diarrheal deaths accounts for at least 12% among children under five in the country6

Considering that one of the key health policy directions of Aquino administration is the attainment of MDG 4 specifically reduction of infant mortality rate, rotavirus vaccination is imperative to achieve the Philippines’ goal to lower this mortality rate5. By preventing diarrheal deaths among children thru rotavirus vaccination, the country will be able to substantially reduce overall child mortality in the Philippines towards achievement of the fourth Millennium Development Goal by 2015.

“We need to be serious about saving our children from the grip of this burdensome but highly preventable disease,” says Dr. Salvacion Gatchalian, Director, Clinical R & D and Medical Affairs for GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, “And there is no better way than to vaccinate our children to protect them from rotavirus, the most common cause of diarrhea which accounts for 12% of deaths among children under five in the Philippines6. If properly implemented, the Philippines may be the very first country in the Asia to include rotavirus vaccine in our national immunization program. ”

Thirteen children have died yesterday from diarrhea-related illnesses. But with this vaccine, millions do not have to suffer the same fate.

 

References:

  1. Black RE, Cousens S, Johnson HL, et al. Global, regional, and national causes of child mortality in 2008: a systematic analysis. The Lancet 2010; 375:1969-1987
  2. WHO, UNICEF. Joint Statement on Clinical Management of Acute Diarrhoea. 2004.
  3. Guerrant DI et al. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1999
  4. WHO. Wkly Epidemiol Rec 2009; 84: 220–36.
    1. Lecture Entitled, Aquino Health Agenda: Universal Health Care by Enrique T. Ona, 2nd Philippine Health Outlook Forum 22 October 2010
    2. Field Health Service Information system 2008 NEC Department of Health, Manila

 

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