The Department of Health has launched the Philippine Acceleration Action Plan for Tuberculosis, a multisectoral initiative to eradicate tuberculosis in the country by 2035. The Department of Health together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of the Interior and Local Government, through the Philippine Acceleration Action Plan for Tuberculosis aims to provide wider access to health services, and improved education and public information, social protection, and labor protection to eradicate TB by 2030.
Tuberculosis is a chronic communicable disease that comes second only to COVID-19 as a leading cause of mortality from a single infectious organism. According to the Global TB Report 2022, the disease accounted for 1.6 million deaths in 2021. In a preliminary report from the Philippine Statistics Authority this year, TB continues to rank 11th among the causes of death in the Filipino population.
TB elimination entails improving access to TB services, and addressing the social, economic, and physical determinants that significantly affect its occurrence, transmission, and even treatment.
Officer-in-Charge Secretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said,
“In addressing these social determinants of health, we enjoin all our sectoral stakeholders for synergistic solutions to overcrowding, low education, malnutrition, and ultimately poverty. Our collective interventions will make TB services equitable, especially for the poor.”
The PAAP-TB aims to address the nation’s TB epidemic by re-examining current programs and initiatives of National Coordinating Committee for Tuberculosis member organizations.
Together, these collaborating sectors will provide an action plan and involve the private sector and organizations to achieve the program’s goals over two medium terms.
Also present at the event were representatives from various sectors committed to eradicating TB in the Philippines, Department of Health Assistant Secretary Beverly Ho, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., DSWD Assistant Secretary Janet Armas, DOLE Executive Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Center Ma. Teresita Cucueco, and FDA Director IV Jesusa Joyce Cirunay
Officer-In-Charge Singh-Vergeire also said,
“By engaging multiple disciplines, organizations, sectors, and partners can combine strengths and leverage resources, expertise, and knowledge, while addressing the social, environmental, economic, and political systemic drivers that influence behaviours and prevent the effective delivery of health policies and interventions.”
About TB in the Philippines
Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. It spreads from one person to another through tiny droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. While TB can be treated with antibiotics, it remains a major public health problem in the Philippines, and globally.
In response, the Philippines Department of Health has launched an initiative aimed at eradicating TB by 2030. The initiative includes various strategies such as increasing access to diagnosis and treatment, promoting prevention measures like vaccination, and strengthening health systems to ensure effective service delivery. The department also aims to reduce stigma associated with TB and raise awareness about the disease in communities across the country.
The Philippines Department of Health recognizes that achieving this goal requires collaboration from government agencies, healthcare providers, private sector partners, civil society organizations and affected communities.
Sources: THX News & Department of Health.