PH winning its battle against TB


The Department of Health (DOH) today reported that the Philippines is now one of the seven among the 22 high-burdened countries that have achieved its 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in fighting tuberculosis (TB) as early as 2012. The other six countries were Brazil, Cambodia, China, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Vietnam.

Secretary of Health Janette P. Loreto-Garin disclosed that there has been a marked decline in TB burden since the launching of the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course) strategy in 1996. She added that as of 2013, cases and deaths due to TB was reduced by more than 50% from the 1990 baseline.

“Vigilance and eradication of stigma will help us in winning the battle against TB,” Garin said, adding that the Philippines has already developed a 2010-2016 Philippine Plan of Action to Control TB.

The health chief explained that in 2011, rapid diagnostic tools such as Line Probe Assay, Mycobacterium Growth Indicator Tube and GeneXpert were introduced to improve and lessen turnaround time of Multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB diagnosis. There is also a continuous expansion of services for drug resistant TB cases to at least one treatment center/satellite treatment center per province and highly urbanized city.

The success of the national TB program can be attributed to past efforts like the implementation of the DOTS Strategy or “Tutok-Gamutan”, management of the multi-drug resistant TB, initiation of public-private mix DOTS, implementation of TB in children program, and the enhancements of DOTS through the adoption of the WHO-endorsed STOP TB strategy and expansion of services to the vulnerable groups like the inmates and people living with HIV.

Tuberculosis ranked as the 8th leading cause of sickness in the country (based on 2010 data) and the 6th leading cause of death (based on the 2009 Philippine Health Statistics) Currently, the Philippines is 8th among the 22 TB high-burdened countries in the world in terms of TB cases.

“We are on the right track. We are winning our battle against TB. Let us continue to be vigilant, let us do our part. May papel ka.” Garin concluded.

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