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PIA Press Release

Gov't doubles TB control funds to P280-M

by EA Abasquez

San Jose, Antique (6 September) -- Government is doubling its tuberculosis (TB) control budget to P280 million next year to combat a resurgent disease which is said to infect six in ten Filipinos and claims one life every 20 minutes in the country.

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. said the 100-percent hike in funds of the Department of Health (DOH) TB Control Program this year which is P139 million has been included in the proposed P1.227 trillion national budget.

Andaya said the hike would allow the government to procure more anti-TB drugs, which are mainly administered to patients through the proven Directly-Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS).

The Provincial Health Office here has taken a more vigorous approach to combat tuberculosis, like early detection through sputum examination, laboratory and x-ray services, Mila M. Laureta, Provincial TB Coordinator pointed out.

The Multi-Drug-Resistant (MDR) cases are also covered by the program (DOTS). These are TB cases that despite the medication, patients when subjected to sputum examination were still found to be positive of the disease.

More attention would be given to this category as these were described to be expensive to treat or cure, very contagious and noted to be responsible for spreading TB resistant bacilli, the TB coordinator said.

TB cases of this nature qualify for referral to Makati Tropical Disease Foundation Clinic, so patients could be subjected to thorough medication, but the process entails enormous amount of money, a longer period of treatment as Out-Patient, but so far no case from Antique had availed of the services in this institution, Laureta added. (PIA) [top]

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