August 21, 2019
WITH the higher number of tuberculosis (TB) cases and fatalities, Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros on Tuesday called on the Department of Health (DoH) to step up its efforts in combating the disease.
“[In the whole] Asean region (Southeast Asia), we have the highest figures on tuberculosis incidence. And despite the fact that we have been fighting this condition for a very long time, we seem to be making very little headway,” Hontiveros said.
During a recent briefing given by the DoH to the Senate Committee on Health, data from the department showed that from 1,200 cases reported every day in 2016, there were 1,600 new cases detected every day in 2018.
GenXpert, a small machine, made possible a faster and more accurate detection of tuberculosis.
The briefing also revealed that there are more than 1 million cases of tuberculosis around the country, with 60 to 70 people dying daily.
A lack of awareness and the social stigma attached to the disease prevent patients from seeking help, Hontiveros said.
It was reported that only 1 out of every 5 people with symptoms of the disease consults a health worker.
While Hontiveros welcomed the improvements in detection procedures, she said there should be a corresponding improvement in response and treatment.
“Perhaps the DoH can consider declaring a similar state of emergency for tuberculosis, like it has done for conditions like dengue, in order for local government units, hospitals, personnel and partners to mobilize resources to fight the disease,” the senator added.
“It is also vital that we remain vigilant in educating the public and in encouraging people to consult health professionals to help prevent this disease,” Hontiveros said.
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