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DOH, DSWD, and USAID Launch New Initiatives in Fight Against TB

The Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched two new five-year projects aimed at strengthening the country’s fight against tuberculosis.

During a recently held event at the Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City, with the theme “Heroes for Healthy Lungs”, the DOH and DSWD also launched the Family Development Session TB module, which aims to promote positive behavior change of individuals and the community to prevent, detect, and treat TB. Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries participated in several activity booths which included an initial physical screening, x-ray test, puzzles, trivia games, and Family Development Sessions.

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III launched the project alongside DSWD Assistant Secretary Glenda de Rama Relova and US embassy Charge d’Affaires Michael Klecheski.

According to Duque, the TB innovations and TB platforms projects have a total funding of 2.5 billion pesos. He added that the new flagship projects will focus on the three regions with the highest number of TB cases. These are the National Capital Region, Region 3 (Central Luzon) and Region 4A (Calabarzon). The projects aim to reduce by 95 percent deaths due to TB and lower the new cases of TB by 90 percent by the year 2035, Duque said.

Under the TB innovations project, the DOH would improve the health system of local government units (LGUS). This will include enhancements to their database management system to track all reported TB cases.

Duque said that around 1 million Filipinos are TB patients. Around 60 Filipinos die of the disease daily.

Meanwhile, Duque said that the DOH aims to deliver high quality, patient-centered TB and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) case detection and treatment under the TB platforms project. He also underlined the importance of completing treatment to stop the development of DR-TB.

The DOH Secretary said the TB module which has been integrated in the Family Development Session (FDS) of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4s) will improve TB knowledge and skill in identifying family members with TB symptoms of parents and guardians in around 30, 000 household beneficiaries in the three regions with the highest incidence of TB.

DSWD Assistant Secretary Relova said the module is part of the national plan to eradicate TB. The integration of the module in the FDS also aimed to eliminate  social stigma experienced by those who are afflicted with the manageable type of the disease.

Duque, Klecheski and Relova all encouraged Filipino TB patients to avail the free treatment offered by the government. ###

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