The Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT)
was founded in 1994 amidst the realization that collaboration
and partnership with the private sector was vitally needed
to succeed in the country’s fight against tuberculosis,
an infectious disease whose victims continue to be viewed
with stigma. The major founding members were the Department
of Health (DOH), leading specialty societies of chest
physicians, infectious disease specialists, and pharmaceutical
From 12 founding members, PhilCAT has grown to 67 member
organizations from the government and non-government,
professional, corporate and international organizations.
It is governed by an 11-member board elected at large
by all member organizations. It is vice-chaired by the
highest DOH official directly in charge of the National
Tuberculosis Program (NTP), presently the Director of
the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Fight TB through Unified Action
At forefront in the promotion of Public-Private Mix in
TB, PhilCAT’s achievement has earned the respect
of the international health community. The Philippines
has been acknowledged for the Public-Private Mix model
that PhilCAT developed and adopted.
The Philippines is a recipient of a US$11.3 million from
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
to fund, among others, the promotion and implementation
of private-public mix strategies. During the first year
of the project which started in July 2003, PhilCAT installed
seven PPMD units jointly with the DOH. Twenty additional
PPMD units will be installed in Year 2, and 43 more on
the third year, for a total of 70 PPMD units nationwide.
With support from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and
USAID, PhilCAT in collaboration with DOH developed and
implemented five private-public DOTS models in various
health sectors settings in Metro Manila and Cavite. Significant
strides have already been made in operating these models,
and there is potential that these models will significantly
contribute towards increasing detection rates.
PhilCAT co-authored "Empowering the Private Sector
in the Control of TB in the Philippines in a Strengthened
National TB Program”, the first ever produced document
in the world that outlined a countrywide strategy for
the establishment of public private mix strategy in support
of DOTS. Endorsed by the DOH and WHO, this document was
instrumental in the awarding of a US$1.5-million grant
to the Philippines by the Geneva-based Global Drug Facility
for a complete course of TB medication for 130,000 TB
patients over a three-year period.
PhilCAT was DOH's major partner in the successful conduct
of the first-ever National Tuberculosis Summit on March
7, 2003 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City,
which resulted in the ratification of the Comprehensive
and Unified Policy (CUP) for Tuberculosis Control in the
Philippines by 22 leaders of major government, non-government,
professional and corporate organizations. President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo gave strong support to this policy that
unifies both the public and private sectors by issuing
Executive Order No. 187 on March 21, 2003, instructing
government agencies to disseminate the Comprehensive and
Unified Policy and to conduct training on carrying out
its provisions. She also enjoined non-government agencies
to extend full cooperation to the effort.
The Philippine Tuberculosis Initiatives for Private Sector
(Philippine TIPS), a USAID-funded project and partner
of PhilCAT, provided logistical and technical support
for the National TB Summit.
In February 2003, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
(PhilHealth) signed an agreement with PhilCAT to launch
an outpatient benefits package that covers TB diagnosis
and treatment. This TB package is unprecedented in the
country. It makes available P4,000 per TB patient to public
and private clinics certified as DOTS-ready by PhilHealth.
PhilCAT assumes the job of training the referring physicians
and certifying these centers.
To address the relative lack of emphasis on TB and DOTS
in the education of the country's doctors, PhilCAT has
collaborated with the Association of Philippine Medical
Colleges and Philippine TIPS to project a TB-DOTS syllabus
for medical schools. In partnership with Philippine TIPS,
PhilCAT conducted a workshop on May 29 and 30, 2003 on
integrating TB-DOTS into the curriculum of medical schools
attended by some 65 participants, representing 26 out
of 30 medical schools.
PhilCAT also performs valuable research work for TB control
in partnership with PhilCAT member groups. Among its projects
were the following: (1) "Pilot Testing of the Guidelines
on TB in Children at Barangay" in collaboration with
the DOH Task Force on TB in Children, Center for TB in
Children Philippines and World Vision; (2) "The Control
of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in the Philippines
Through Community-based DOTS-Plus Program" in collaboration
with the Tropical Disease Foundation and (3) "Randomized
Trial in the Use of Family DOTS Among Newly-Diagnosed
Smear (+) Tuberculosis in the PTSI-FOD Clinics" in
collaboration with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society
and GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.