DOH-10 Leads Observance of World TB Day
Cagayan de Oro City (4 April) — THE Center for Health Development of the Department of Health (CHD-DOH) in Northern Mindanao led the observance of World TB Day, March 31, remembering those who died of tuberculosis (TB) and those working behind to control the disease.
Dr. Evelyn B. Magsayo, CHD-10 medical regional coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP), announced this during a recent press conference at the Rotunda, Limketkai Center in Cagayan de Oro City.
She said this year’s theme: “Stop TB: Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko,” is telling us that this is everyone’s concern and everyone’s involvement is very important in the control of this communicable disease.
In her report on the TB situation in the country, she revealed the Philippines is still among the 22 high-burdened countries in the world.
Before, the country ranked 7th and now on the 9th in the TB watch list in the world, she added.
Magsayo said initially, the country ranked 2nd and now 4th in the Western Pacific Region in terms of notification of TB.
Still, tuberculosis is the leading cause of death, not only here in the Philippines, but throughout the world and the 6th leading cause of death and illnesses, she reported.
In the region, TB is still among the 10th leading causes of morbidity, the 9th leading cause of illness, and the 5th leading cause of death, she further said.
Also, in the whole region of Northern Mindanao, she said there are more than 6,000 infectious TB patients recorded.
As of last year, when the country’s population already reached 88 million, the Philippines ranked 9th in the TB watch list among the 22 high-burdened countries in the world.
However, the good news is that we have already reached the target set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is getting a 75-percent case detection rate on most infectious cases, Magsayo revealed.
She said the country has a good success rate in treating TB patients, which is way above the 85% cure or success rate set by the WHO.
Since the country envisions a “TB-Free Philippines,” we have to contribute to the Millenium Development Goal (MDG), which is to reverse the incidence of TB and reduce the TB prevalence and death rates down to 50% by the year 2015, she said.
We have seven more years left when TB would no longer be listed as among the 10th leading cause of death and morbidity, Dr. Magsayo said.
The strategic plan of the National TB Control Program (NTP) in controlling the disease is to get or detect the most infectious cases, at least 70% or more on positive cases, and 85% or more on cure rate, she added.
The Philippines already met its target when it started implementing the Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) as the main strategy in controlling TB in 1996, she further said.
Since the start of the DOTS strategy, we already have a good success rate of more than 85% in the country and among the 22 hard-burdened countries in the world.The Philippines is among the countries that reached their targets together with China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Other countries are wondering how we did it, especially when we are among the Third World low-income nations, she said, yet we showed them how we worked together to control TB.
Meanwhile, Dr. Magsayo said the number of TB cases would depend on the population density where in largely populated areas there would be high cases of infections.
Dr. Fe C. Bongcas, NTP coordinator of Cagayan de Oro, said because of DOTS, the city reached the target of 85% cure rate.
The reason behind is that under DOTS, there is a treatment partner involved in every TB-positive patient, she added.
In addition, there are also task forces in every barangay in the city that help monitor persons symptomic of the disease, she said.
Those identified positive will be referred to different health centers in the city, where they will be given immediate treatment once found positive of the disease, she added.
Dr. Bongcas said aside from the medical treatment, everything is given free by the City Government through the City Health Office.
She said the DOTS is very effective in the control and cure of tuberculosis since patients have partners that monitor if medicines are taken religiously in a span of six months.
Cagayan de Oro started implementing DOTS in 1999, three years after it was implemented nationwide, she added.
In the same press conference, CHD-DOH-10 Director III Jaime S. Bernadas said, “the problem of tuberculosis or TB has been with us since time immemorial and we have not really worked as much to eliminate this disease.”
While today’s theme is “Stop TB: Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko,” which means that this is everyone’s concern, he said, the DOH lately is pursuing the battle cry, “Ratsada Laban sa TB”–a “todo ratsada” campaign against all infections to be able to control TB.
The Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) is seen as the most effective strategy in monitoring and curing patients sick of TB, he said.
He pointed out that DOH-10 is currently doing the following to help solve the problems of tuberculosis: Ensure logistics are available for DOTS patients, where medicines are made available and given free at the local government units and DOTS centers; Massive information and education campaign so that patients and their immediate families would know the do’s and don’ts of TB; Forge stronger partnership between LGUs and the health department; and Forge a stronger public and private partnership.
With the support of the LGUs and non-government organizations, we can be able to reduce the prevalence of TB to 50%, he also said.
In their information, education and communication campaign, Dr. Bernadas said they always stress that persons who have symptoms of TB should avoid the “stigma” or be ashamed that they have the disease by shying away from the crowd.
Instead they should to visit or consult the nearest barangay health or DOTS center.
These health centers have midwives, nurses and doctors who were trained to examine and to confirm if patients are TB-positive or not, he explained.
Dr. Bernadas emphasized that once patients are treated of the disease, it will no longer be contagious.
Universally, all persons regardless of age, even infants, could be infected of tuberculosis, he added.
The director identified their partners in the private and public sectors that are actively implementing the DOTS): the German Doctors, Polymedic General Hospital, Xavier University College of Medicine, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), Northern Mindanao Medical Center, City Health Office of Cagayan de Oro, and the Provincial Health Office of Misamis Oriental, among others. (PIA-MisOrOccCam)