While the Yellows want the public to focus on the Isabelle Duterte controversy, an FB post from a WHO expert on Dengvaxia mess comes at a proper time.
Dr. Susan Mercado, Director of Noncommunicable Disease and Health through Life Course from the WHO (World Health Organization) took to Facebook calling former Pres. Pnoy’s statement as ‘disturbing’ and ‘alarmist’.
The former president read a prepared statement in the senate hearing on Dengvaxia before the senators started questioning him on his role in the controversial dengue vaccine.
Mercado writes on Facebook:
I find it very disturbing that President Aquino opened his statement yesterday with data that borders on the absurd.
He said that there was an increase in dengue cases by 100% in Region 3 and 5 and 1,409.5% in Region 8. “What is frightening here is, if there are an estimated 200,000 cases of dengue each year, and it is possible for them to increase 14 times like what happened in Region 8, the number of those who may potentially be infected is 2.8 million”.
A quick search will show that the entire Western Pacific Region (including China, Fiji, Viet Nam and other countries with dengue problems) with a total population of 1.9 billion people only reported 500,000 cases in 2016. (WHO Western Pacific Region Dengue Fact Sheet)
Students of public health will quickly point out that you cannot take an increased incidence rate of dengue in a LOCALITY and multiply it by the NATIONAL number of cases.
There may have been a number of reasons for hyperactivity of the mosquitoes in Region 8, but mosquitoes can only live for 2-3 days, and they can only fly for 400 meters. So an outbreak is usually localized.
It is inconsistent for President Aquino to say that governments role is “to calm people down” while he did just the opposite. Using a speculative mathematical twist he has scared the public into thinking that we could have as many as 2.8 million cases of dengue.
Is this faulty statistic the justification for buying 3.0 billion worth of vaccines that had never been tested in a population – at phenomenal speed?
No, we cannot possibly be in any imaginable situation where we would have 2.8 million cases of dengue. No country in this region has ever had numbers close to this. Viet Nam, has always had the largest number of cases, and at its peak it was close to a million cases.
With due respect, that opening statement was alarmist, cannot be backed up by epidemiological modeling and is yet another insult to the intelligence of the public health community in this country.