21st Annual Convention

STOP TB: Makialam, Tara Na!

20th Annual Convention


































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 for 2015.

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 stressed.

Excerpts from The Philippine STAR interview with Dr. Morfe:

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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