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PIA Press Release
2009/03/25

Drug resistant TB center to rise in Davao

by RG Alama

Davao City (25 March) -- A center to cater to patients afflicted with multi-purpose drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis is currently being constructed in Davao City.

The center located at the Davao Medical center is capable of detecting drug-resistant TB strains and will be the referral center for drug-resistant cases is expected to be operational this year.

According to Dr. Generoso Alvarez, Chairman of the Davao City Coalition Against Tuberculosis (DCCAT) they have already detected several cases of drug resistant TB here in Davao. Current treatments were for these patients to be referred to a facility in Manila.

Interviewed by the media during the culmination of the World TB day activities held 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 a hundred thousand pesos for a private treatment as compared to a private treatment cost of ten thousand pesos for a person afflicted with ordinary TB.

For those enrolled in DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) anti TB program of the Government it would just need a PhilHealth-covered four-thousand pesos worth of treatment for ordinary TB cases, while for those with drug-resistant TB cases under the DOTS program an estimated P18,000-P20,000 worth of treatment will be spent for the patient.

MDR TB treatment lasts up to 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 is tops in the region with these cases. (PIA XI) [top]

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