Tuberculosis cure rate higher in 2005
By Ailene N. Diaz
Catarman, Northern Samar (12 October) -- Health is one of the priority thrusts of the Provincial Government under the administration of Governor Raul A. Daza as embodied in his FLESHER program: Food, Livelihood, Education, Shelter, Health, Environment and Revenue Generation.
The Infectious Diseases Unit of the Provincial Health Office through its coordinator Cesarith P. Hernandez disclosed the increase of tuberculosis cure rate from 31.4% in 2004 to 44.6% in 2005.
This positive result according to Hernandez, is due to their continuous promotion and usage of "directly observed treatment - short course" (DOTS) or "Tutok Gamutan". DOTS is a strategy for cost effective treatment which aims to control the spread of the disease.
"We recognize the services rendered by the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) as treatment partners. Supervised treatment as one component of DOTS is considered a crucial mechanism to ensure patient compliance to treatment. Through this program, the provincial government in coordination with the provincial health office, trained a number of Barangay Health Workers who will play as treatment partners and will make sure that the patient take the right dose or medication at the right time", Hernandez explained.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by bacterial infection. It can affect many parts of the body but is found commonly in the lungs. "Tuberculosis Bacilli" is transmitted from the source (a TB patient) through coughing and sneezing. Although many have been infected with the disease, nowadays it is curable. In fact, Hernandez said, the national government through the Department of Health has produced a kind of medicine for TB which is called the "Fixed Dose/Drug Combination" wherein the four (4) kinds of medicine were combined into only one. The dreaded treatment of taking 6 or more tablets and capsules at a time will now be reduced depending on the weight of the patient being treated for the period between six to eight months.
Tuberculosis is the sixth leading killer in the Philippines infecting about half of the population. In the province it is the fourth leading cause of mortality and seventh of morbidity.
As of 2005, some 1,681 symptomatic cases were examined of which 429 were found to be smear positive. It recorded a 44.6% cure rate and 4.3% death rate compared to the recorded data in 2004 which gave 31.4% cure rate and death rate of 4.4%.
This data however were gathered only from the Rural Health Units and the provincial hospital and excluded those treated in the private clinics and unreported cases.
Program interventions have been made to control the disease, Hernandez explained. One such intervention was provision of microscopes to some municipalities. They have also made representations to the Local Chief Executives to hire medical technologists. Trainings have also been conducted among health workers from the provincial down to the barangay level, Hernandez concluded. (PIA-Northern Samar) [top]