Today is: Mon, May 20, 2013
US reaffirms commitment to help PHL fight TB
As people around the world campaigned to stop tuberculosis in their lifetime on World TB Day on Saturday, the US Government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) reaffirmed its commitment to help the Philippines eradicate the deadly but curable disease.
The Department of Health (DOH) lists tuberculosis among the top 10 causes of deaths in the Philippines, and is currently implementing its 2010-2016 Philippine Plan of Action to Control TB (PhilPACT), which aims to reduce TB to a level where it is no longer a public health threat.
According to the USAID, the Philippines is 9th among countries with largest TB burden, with approximately 390,000 suffering from the disease and 75 deaths daily.
“We are partnering with the National TB Control Program (NTCP) and the DOH in strengthening the public and private sectors’ capacities to implement DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course), the internationally recommended strategy for TB control," said USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele in a press release.
Through its Linking Initiatives and Networking to Control Tuberculosis (TB LINC) Project, USAID assists the DOH in its program by working directly in areas with high TB prevalence.
It noted that the disease is closely linked to substandard housing, poor nutrition, and other social determinants of health.
As part of the TB Linc project, USAID will implement a Secured Health Information Network and Exchange (SHINE TB) to provide better care for TB patients as well as hold TB awareness forums in Laguna in Luzon and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
Caused by TB bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), TB primarily affects the lungs and is referred to as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Extra-pulmonary TB may also occur in the bones, meninges, joints, genito-urinary tract, liver, kidneys, intestines and heart.
"The United States will continue to work with our partners to fight this deadly disease. We are supporting programs that are saving lives and fostering a more secure world, focusing our efforts in countries where the burden of the disease is highest,” said Steele.
“There is really a need for the government and private sector to work together so that TB, which has claimed thousands of lives will be eradicated,” said Philippines Coalition against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT) Executive Director Amelia G. Sarmiento during a strategic and operational planning workshop last year.
Founded in 1993, the 60-member coalition represents the Philippines in the World Health Organization's National Stop TB Partnership, which envisions a world without tuberculosis. — LBG, GMA News