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Dengue vaccine now available at select Watsons stores

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Dengvaxia, a vaccine against dengue, is now available over-the-counter nationwide at select stores of Watsons, the first retailer to offer the vaccine in the Philippines.

Watsons Dengue Vaccine KV 2

“We decided to offer dengue vaccination in our 108 selected stores nationwide as we recognize the importance of having vaccination accessible to Filipinos to protect them against dengue infection and make them healthier. It is our latest addition that we offer in our stores, aside from cervical cancer, flu and pneumonia vaccinations,” says Danilo Chiong, Watsons Trading Health Director.

Produced by pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, Dengvaxia took over 20 years of extensive research and tests to develop. Studies on the vaccine were conducted on 41,000 people and were carried out in 15 countries including the Philippines. With test results fully reviewed by a committee of independent experts, the vaccine has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In a WHO position paper published in July 29, 2016, it says that to prevent dengue infection, dengue vaccine should be a part of a comprehensive dengue control strategy, which include well-executed and sustained vector controls, evidence-based best practices for clinical care and strong dengue surveillance.

The vaccine has also been endorsed by the Philippine Society for Microbiology and infectious Diseases (PSMID) and Philippine College of Physicians (PCP). In February 2017, the vaccine got the approval to be administered in 14 countries, including the Philippines, where dengue is endemic.

In the Philippines, there were 211,106 reported dengue cases in 2016. The most number of cases was reported in Regions VI, VII, III, IV-A, and XII. All age groups were affected by dengue.

Age bracket and dosage

Since there is no specific treatment for dengue, Dr. Rontgene Solante, Past President at PSMID, said the dengue vaccine can protect individuals against the illness. It can be administered to individuals 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas for prevention of dengue illness caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4. It is to be taken in three doses of 0.5ml at six-month intervals to increase antibodies response, thereby protecting them from all four strains of the virus. The vaccine, when correctly administered in three doses, stays effective in four to five years.

The vaccine costs P4,000 per dose or P12,000 for all three doses, which is reasonable considering the high incidence of dengue and high cost of treatment in the Philippines.

“The vaccine is not just for kids but adults should also be vaccinated as this is safe and can modify infection. Don’t look at the price but in the long-term benefits it provides,” said Solante.

Solante, however, relayed the vaccine is not effective for children below nine years old. A study made on the vaccine and these children showed that the efficacy of the vaccine was below 50%. Likewise, the vaccine cannot be administered to persons over 45 years old as there was no study made yet about its effectiveness for these individuals.

Apart from these, other persons who have the following cannot take the vaccine: history of severe allergic reaction; congenital or acquired immune deficiency diseases; symptomatic HIV infection; and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Solante, however, said that those were infected by dengue in the past can still avail of the vaccine.

Solante advised individuals to administer the vaccine correctly. “If a person who has taken the first dose fails to take the second dose on the scheduled (sixth) month, and instead take it, let’s say, on the eighth month, the vaccine is still effective. But, if he misses taking it for a couple of years, the vaccine became ineffective and has to start taking it all over again.”

The vaccine is injected in arms via the subcutaneous route over the deltoid region. How is it effective? In his presentation, Dr. Solante said the vaccine can result to 80.8% reduction in hospitalized dengue; 93.2% drop in severe dengue; and 65.6% decline in symptomatic dengue, which means that if a person is infected, symptoms are reduced.

The vaccine does not contain adjuvants or preservatives so the adverse effect or reaction is lower, according to Solante. Adverse reactions include headache, malaise, myalgia, pain, injection site reaction, and other mild to moderate reactions.

A study conducted by the University of the Philippines showed that the vaccine is expected to reduce dengue cases in the country by over 24% in a span of five years.

Meanwhile, Chiong said that they will have a doctor in over 100 selected Watsons stores to administer the vaccine during vaccination dates. The first scheduled dengue vaccination will be on April 30, 2017 (1st dose); October 29, 2017 (2nd dose) and April 29, 2018 (3rd dose). The second schedule vaccination will be on May 14, 2018 (1st dose); November 12, 2018 (2nd dose); and May 13, 2018 (3rd dose).

REYNALDO “Rey” R. VICENTE’s career experience involves mostly research in publishing companies. He previously held the position of Research and Events Director of Media G8way Corp., publisher of Computerworld Philippines (CWP), PC World Philippines, and IT Resource. He also handled events organized for CWP. Prior to this, he was a Research Head of a business publication. Now as co-publisher of Zest Magazine, Rey also serves as Managing Editor. Rey finished his bachelor’s degree majoring in Economics at the University of Santo Tomas.

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DKT Philippines Foundation unveils PH’s first family planning mobile clinic

The SODEX Mobile Clinic is an innovation to improve DKT Philippines Foundation’s SODEX Program and its contribution to achieving the DOH 8-Point Action Agenda and National Objectives for Health.

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DKT Philippines Foundation, a charitable non-profit organization promoting family planning and HIV prevention, officially launched the SODEX (Service Outreach and Distribution Extension Program) Mobile Clinic – the country’s first-ever family planning ambulatory clinic. This pioneering effort aims to provide safe and accessible modern family planning methods for Filipinos in far-flung areas to bridge the gap between Filipinos wanting to space and limit pregnancy and the disparities in Family Planning service provision.

The SODEX Mobile Clinic is an innovation to improve DKT Philippines Foundation’s SODEX Program and its contribution to achieving the DOH 8-Point Action Agenda and National Objectives for Health.

“DKT Philippines Foundation’s mission is to provide couples with affordable, and safe options for family planning, and HIV/AIDS prevention through dynamic social marketing,” said Loida Almendares, the Foundation’s Director of Programs. “The SODEX mobile clinic will provide a wide array of free family planning services especially in areas with lesser access to services like the geographically isolated or socially disadvantaged areas. The mobile clinic will bring the services closer to the people and meet them where they are,” she added.

The mobile clinic will provide free Family Planning commodities such as pills, condoms, injectables and intrauterine devices (IUD). It will also offer free bilateral tubal ligation (BTL) using local anesthesia and non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV). Onboarding the clinic are Physician/Surgeon trained on the provision of BTL, NSV, IUD, and subdermal implant services; FP-trained nurse; FP- trained midwife; a circulating staff, and a driver. To ensure that all clients are well-informed and fit to take the services, they will undergo counseling and final screening prior to getting the method.

In partnership with 30 LGUs from Luzon, DKT Philippines Foundation aims to foster sustainable and long-term partnerships with these LGUs to cultivate Filipinos’ desire to meaningfully participate and contribute to government efforts to achieve universal health coverage for all.

“DKT Philippines Foundation and its Family Planning Mobile Clinic reinforce DKT’s commitment to ensuring nobody is left behind and provides free and quality reproductive health options including permanent methods, to those most remote and vulnerable communities. Made possible by the sales of family planning products under the TRUST Reproductive Health Choices brand, the mobile clinic ensures that people who still cannot afford the highly affordable TRUST products, or cannot access the reproductive health services they need in the public sector, are not left behind and still have free access to these services. It is a part of a total market approach, complementing the important work the local LGUs do on a daily basis.” said Denise van Dijk, Chair of the Board of DKT Philippines Foundation.

The mobile clinic will travel for 119 days to offer free services in the provinces of Central Luzon, North Luzon, Cordillera, MIMAROPA and CALABARZON with the first stop being at Binangonan, Rizal where the launch took place. The clinic will stay in one area for a day or two from 8 AM to 6 PM. By next year, the mobile clinic will cover communities in the Visayas and Mindanao areas. 

The launch and blessing event was officially attended by fellow reproductive health advocates in public and private sectors, development partners, and family planning clients.  Guest of honor and speaker was Department of Health Undersecretary Dr. Glenn Mathew Baggao with special participation of the Mayor of Binangonan, Rizal – Hon. Cesar M. Ynares.

The programs and free services of DKT Philippines Foundation are made possible by the country’s leading brand of contraceptives TRUST Reproductive Health Choices, which is carried by the social enterprise DKT Health, Inc.

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Pru Life UK ramps up recruitment efforts

Through a series of Build Your Business (BYB) sessions—held online and in person in key cities across the country—seasoned PRU business builders share their success stories and tips to encourage attendees to pursue their own business goals.

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Pru Life UK ramps up its recruitment efforts to empower ambitious individuals from all walks of life to build a long-lasting business with the leading life insurer.

Through a series of Build Your Business (BYB) sessions—held online and in person in key cities across the country—seasoned PRU business builders share their success stories and tips to encourage attendees to pursue their own business goals.

“By choosing Pru Life UK, aspiring financial advisors can be confident that they are backed by the #1 life insurer in the country with strong market presence and solid financial results,” said Marylin Detalla-Averia, Chief Agency Officer of Pru Life UK.

The company ranks number one in the life insurance industry in the Philippines, garnering the highest New Business Annual Premium Equivalent based on the Insurance Commission’s report as of 31 December 2023.

“Our financial advisors are provided with all the support they need to help build their business. They have access to digital tools, development programs, hip offices, and attractive rewards and incentives with unlimited earning potential. This allows them to be their own boss and live their ideal lifestyle while helping clients achieve theirs.”

Celebration of success with #BuildYourPRUBusiness

While BYB sessions are held year-round, the company leads an energetic approach to recruitment this May.

Themed Paint the Town Red: It’s PRUFiesta time, Recruitment Never Stops!, BYB sessions will be held in  Metro Manila (Makati, Ortigas, QC), Pampanga (Clark, Sta. Rosa), South (Alabang, Lipa), North (Baguio), and VisMin (Cebu, Davao, CDO).

Attendees will receive mentorship on becoming a business builder with Pru Life UK’s 40,000-agency force, the largest in the industry.

A virtual BYB session will happen on May 22 featuring “Pambansang Wealth Coach” Chinkee Tan, who will talk about financial management and business development, further highlighting the importance of financial planning and empowering entrepreneurial mindset.

Pru Life UK also holds its weekly Facebook live Q&A sessions for budding and experienced business builders. Held every Thursday at 7:00 p.m., these online sessions offer a glimpse into the world of financial advisors. 

Seeking a meaningful and rewarding business opportunity? Visit bit.ly/JoinPRU2024 to join Pru Life UK’s BYB sessions.

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BAFI, USAID deliver biodiversity projects, MIND S-COOL TV and Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room

Both projects serve to innovatively highlight the critical concepts of “roles” and “collaboration” in addressing the biodiversity crisis as well as the “measures” of the values, not only monetary, that we should all consider living with nature.

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Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI) and the United States Agency for International Development have joined forces to bring you a two-part biodiversity special of MIND S-COOL TV as well as a traveling Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room (BCER). Both projects serve to innovatively highlight the critical concepts of “roles” and “collaboration” in addressing the biodiversity crisis as well as the “measures” of the values, not only monetary, that we should all consider living with nature.

BCER is the first, traveling, experiential, immersive space, made up of 3 main rooms that will stand for the biodiversity crisis. The goal is for the participants to escape the crisis TOGETHER by helping one another realize and fulfill their roles. BCER will be hosted by BAFI’s The Mind Museum right after its opening at the museum on May 22 and will travel to host venues in Subic (Harbor Point, June15), Puerto Princesa (Robinson’s Mall, June 29) and Davao (Abreeza Mall, July 27) to enjoin participants who include – legislators, enforcers, regulators as well as community leaders – including cultural leaders AND local flora and fauna as well in the form of life-sized moving puppets, manned by professional puppeteers. It will also welcome the general public to experience this very unique and meaningful escape room on the dates mentioned.

Inside BCER, participants will take on roles that they would randomly pick. They will enter 3 connected rooms that they could only escape from if they understand what needs to be done and that they work together. The challenges they will face in each room are closely tied to realizing the “Mga Sukat ng Kalikasan” (measures/values of nature) in order to escape the biodiversity crisis. The experience will be facilitated so it will mimic the real human conversations and actions that need to happen in decision-making involving our natural heritage in which we all share in terms of not just benefits but also responsibilities. 

The 2-part biodiversity special of MIND S-COOL TV, the #1 science show across all channels[1] is a TV version of BCER fleshing out a narrative that will involve our main questers as well as non-human “players” who will be called to help out since MIND S-COOL has been held hostage by the biodiversity crisis. They will experience being trapped in the rooms together with other characters, including life-sized puppets that represent non-humans such as flora, fauna, habitats, abiotic elements giving nature a “voice”. The story of this special 2-part can be summarized as “all life is embedded in nature and we need to realize its many values because if we don’t, the quality of our interconnected lives will be degraded.”  Part 1 of this special will air on May 26, 11 am and replayed at 4:30 PM on OnePh Channel on Cignal while part 2 will air the week after. These will be followed by replays for 6 weeks.

Kathy Wachala, Chief of Party for USAID’s Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans and Landscapes (SIBOL) project, says: “This partnership with BAFI to do BCER and MIND S-COOL TV enabled us to roll-out a very powerful way for stakeholders to internalize their actual roles and work together to come up with solutions to the biodiversity crisis.” Maria Isabel Garcia, Managing Director/Curator of BAFI, also comments on the project, saying, “We are so inspired by the kind of partnership we have with USAID SIBOL since it allowed us to recruit very imaginative ways of engagement for science to serve life, biodiversity.”

We can all escape the biodiversity crisis if we understand that all lives are interconnected and that we all work together, now.

To know more about the USAID SIBOL project and its interventions, you may send an email to info@ph-sibol.org.

Mind S-Cool TV and Biodiversity Crisis Escape Room were conceived and created by the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc., the creator and operator of The Mind Museum and the BGC Arts Center.

To know more, or if you wish to know how you can support mind s-cool and the other projects of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, send an inquiry to: mindscool@bafi.org.ph, inquiry@themindmuseum.org or info@bgcartscenter.org.


[1] According to the latest Nielsen Ratings Survey

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