TB: The Battle Goes On
You probably think that tuberculosis (TB) is a thing
of the past. That in this day and age, nobody dies of
TB anymore, as Manuel Quezon, the second president of
the Philippines did in 1944. The grim news is, TB “remains
to be a serious health concern all over the world.”
So serious that the World Health Organization (WHO) has
included it in the list of major diseases that it hopes
to eradicate as part of its Millennium Development Goals
The chilling truth is that TB ranks as the sixth leading
cause of death in the Philippines, based on the Philippine
Health Statistics of 2009, and counts as the eighth leading
cause of illness as of 2010. A cause for concern is that
the Philippines is eighth among the 22 high-burdened countries
in the world in terms of number of TB cases.
Thus, the battle vs. TB rages on. The government continues
its relentless drive to educate Filipinos about TB and,
most importantly, encourages those stricken with the disease
to get treatment which is now readily available and effective,
provided the procedures are properly observed. It is spot
on with its DOTS (directly observed treatment, short-course)
TB control strategy recommended by WHO.
With the battle cry “Stop TB,” and the significant
decrease of TB incidence in the country, we hope to help
in winning this global war versus TB. Last March 23, to
observe World TB Day, various sectors of society and the
healthcare industry gathered to throw their support behind
the Department of Health’s TB advocacy.
“The success of the DOTS program depends largely
not just on the efforts of the government in terms of
disease monitoring, but also on vigilance and support
from doctors and healthcare professionals, from the patients
themselves and most especially from the private sector,”
said Dr. Jose Hesron D. Morfe, national chairman of the
Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT).
This year’s campaign, dubbed “Stop TB: Hanapin,
Gamutin, Pagalingin,” highlights the strategy of
the DOTS method in ensuring “an effective and holistic
battleplan against the disease — from diagnosis
and proper treatment to availability of drugs, as well
as monitoring and assessment of treatment results.”
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Joining PhilCAT are patient group Samahan ng Lusog Baga
and global research-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
“Pfizer is committed to continuously innovating
healthcare solutions through research and development,
and making these accessible to more Filipinos,”
remarked corporate affairs director Gerrard Anthony Paez.
“With continued support, we are on track in helping
the government meet or even exceed the WHO Millennium
Development Goal of eradicating tuberculosis as one of
the important global health concerns,” Dr. Morfe
Excerpts from The Philippine STAR interview with Dr.
PHILIPPINE STAR: Mere mention of TB is enough to make
us shrink in fear. How much of a dreaded communicable
disease is TB today?
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