Davao coalition in forefront of anti-TB fight

Jul. 13, 2007

DAVAO CITY — As the health department across the country is finalizing its plan of activities for the forthcoming month-long (August) celebration on the fight against Tuberculosis, Davao Citys own coalition is also in the forefront of combating the disease..

Dubbed as Davao City Coalition Against Tuberculosis (DaciCAT), it has its own strategic document, rules and regulations in unifying the efforts of government agencies and the private sector in battling tuberculosis in the city, said Dr. Eloisa Lynn Segura, regional coordinator of the National Prevention and Control vs TB of the Department of Health (DOH).

Dr. Parkash Mansukhani of the Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT) said 35 agencies are joining DaciCAT in working closely with PhilCAT in implementing the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP).

Under this program, the Directly-Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) is the preferred mode of treatment. It uses another person to make sure that a TB patient takes his or her medicines throughout the entire treatment period.

The Philippines is already seventh in the world and second in the Western Pacific region in terms of TB prevalence.

Dr. Mansukhani said about 200,000 new cases are detected yearly and about 75 Filipinos die from TB every day.

The government wants 100-percent DOTS coverage in the public sector, meaning that it wants DOTS applied on every case admitted to a government health facility.

However, the global and national target of a 70-percent rate to zero rate of cases on TB cannot be achieved without involving the private sector.

Survey interviews showed that 36 to 60 percent of TB patients consulted with private physicians. Conservatively, 30 to 40 percent of all TB patients consulted private doctors.

Dr. Mansukhani said the government has created a private sector counterpart through PhilCAT which is why the DaciCAT was being organized to become the frontiers in the fight against TB.

For the expansion of DOTS nationwide, the provision of free drugs from the NTP is crucial and essential to ensure successful implementation of TB programs, he said. (PIA XI Dispatch/rbpalacio)

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