Drug resistant TB center to rise in Davao

Mar. 29, 2009

Davao City — A center to cater to patients afflicted with multi-purpose drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) is currently being constructed in Davao City.

The center is being erected at the Davao Medical Center (DMC) and is expected to be operational this year. It is capable of detecting drug-resistant TB strains and will be the referral center for drug-resistant cases

According to Dr. Generoso Alvarez, chairman of the Davao City Coalition Against Tuberculosis they have already detected several cases of drug resistant TB in Davao. These patients had to be referred to a facility in Manila.

At the culmination of the World TB day last March 24 at the DMC Wellness Garden, Alvarez said that treatment for drug-resistant TB cases is expensive and would last a longer time than the prescribed treatment for ordinary TB cases.

A patient with drug-resistant TB strain would need about 100,000 pesos for a private treatment while private treatment for a person afflicted with ordinary TB costs 10,000 pesos.

Those enrolled in Dots (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) anti-TB program of the government would only need a PhilHealth-covered 4,000 pesos worth of treatment for ordinary TB cases, while an estimated 18,000-20,000 pesos worth of treatment will be spent for a patient with drug-resistant TB cases under the same program.

MDR TB treatment lasts 18 to 24 months as compared to six months uninterrupted multi-drug treatment for ordinary TB cases under the Dots program.

Alvarez said that one of the primary reasons for the rise of drug-resistant TB strains is the insufficient or improper treatment of TB. He cited those TB patients who prematurely interrupted their prescribed period of treatment, which have allowed the tuberculosis bacilli to survive and develop resistance to these drugs.

The Philippine has the second highest number of drug-resistant TB cases in Asia with 6,000 new cases according to the World Health Organization. China with around 112,000 cases of drug resistant TB tops the region. (PIA)

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