Today is: Thu, May 23, 2013
Tuberculosis is every Filipino's business
The Philippines has the 9th largest burden of tuberculosis in the world. About 75 people die daily from this curable disease, while 60 percent of TB deaths occurs among the productive age group of 15-64 years old. PhP8 billion is lost annually from sickness and deaths due to TB.
Untreated, a TB patient can infect 10 to 15 others, simply by coughing. A person with TB may demonstrate some or all of the following: persistent cough for at least two weeks; significant weight loss, with or without loss of appetite; fever and night sweats (persistent low grade fever of more than a month); chest pains (breathlessness) or back pains; and, hemoptysis (blood-tinged sputum).
Through the Department of Health’s National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) and with the support of local governments, the Philippines achieved great strides in TB control since the institution of the DOTS strategy in the mid-1990s. The country needs to push this momentum forward to accelerate the gains in TB control.
DOTS stands for Directly Observed Treatment Short course. It is a comprehensive strategy adopted by the Government’s National TB Control Program and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) which ensures diagnosis, treatment, and cure of TB patients. Its implementation is based on five elements: (1) Government commitment to control TB, thus ensuring availability of sustained resources for TB control and management activities; (2) Good quality diagnosis using sputum smear microscopy as the primary diagnostic tool; (3) Standardized treatment regimen using good quality drugs and guaranteed uninterrupted drug supply; (4) Directly-observed treatment by a treatment partner; and, (5) Standardized recording and reporting of TB data. The TB LINC Project is a USAID-assisted and DOH-led initiative to sustain the coordination and collaboration of TB control partners from both the public and private sectors.
The project supports the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce TB prevalence and mortality by half by 2010, by achieving the targets of 70% case detection rate and 85% treatment success rate.
Managing this project is the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), one of the leading non-government organizations (NGOs) in the Philippines. TB LINC is being implemented from October 2006 to September 2011 in 21 provinces and cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
After five years of implementation, TB control good practices have emerged, spearheaded by local government units and local chief executives, the public health sector, and community-based and non-government organizations. Some of these success stories are featured below.