DOH seeks P1.5 billion supplemental budget for Dengvaxia vaccinees

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2018 05:32 PM

A worker shows used anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia inside a vaccine storage room in Sta. Cruz, Metro Manila. Reuters

MANILA- The Department of Health has asked Congress for an additional funding of P1.5 billion to address the needs of those inoculated with the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.

The requested funding is on top of the P1.161 billion refunded by French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur to the government.

The requested budget will be used for the following:

- P84 million for the medical assistance program of Dengvaxia patients

- P776.25 million for outpatient care packages

- P67.80 million for the deployment of nurse-health education and promotion officers

- P300 million for the proposed active case finding (project based profiling/navigation of vaccinees)

- P270 million for the distribution of medical kits to Dengvaxia vaccinees.

The health department also plans to hire more nurses in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the Southern Tagalog region, and Cebu.

The medical assistance to indigents will be in addition to benefits granted through the Philhealth.

The government last year suspended the P3.5-billion nationwide dengue immunization program after French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur admitted that the vaccine might cause severe dengue symptoms on people who have not contracted the mosquito-borne disease. 

The vaccine had been given to about 830,000 children in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas.

LAWMAKER WANTS MEDICAL KITS BUDGET SCRAPPED

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee chair, Rep. Karlo Nograles meanwhile expressed doubts over the funding for medical kits, saying the budget can be spent on other things that would better serve the vaccinees.

Proposed medical kits of the DOH valued at P300 each will have a thermometer, mosquito repellant, two bottles of multivitamins, and a package bag.

"Itong P270 million na medical kit is already 18 percent of the budget. I think we can do better than that, we can put that someplace better," he said.

(This P270 million budget for medical kits is already 18 percent of the budget.)

“I'd rather deploy more doctors and nurses. I'd rather more train more of our teachers in order for them to actively and successfully profile,” he added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque defended the allocation of funds for medical kits, saying it was requested by parents of Dengvaxia vaccinees.

“The reason why we included this because yun pakiusap ng mga magulang sa aming pakikipag-panayam sa kanila this was a request that we thought we had to be sensitive too that's why we included this,” he said.

(The reason why we included this is that during our meetings with parents, this was a request that we thought we had to be sensitive too that's why we included this.)