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PIA Press Release

Nation observes tuberculosis awareness month in August

by EA Abasquez

San Jose, Antique (13 August) -- The month of August is highlighted with the observance of several health events spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH).

The health events include the National Lung Month, the National Tuberculosis Month, the Sight Saving Month, the Family Planning Month, the Lung Cancer Awareness Week, the World Breastfeeding Week, the Mother-Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative Week on August 8-14, the Brain Attack Awareness Week on August 13-19 and the National Tuberculosis Day on August 19.

Foremost to the health events is the National Lung Month, where the DOH and the medical associations and non-government organizations focus the public's attention on the pulmonary system and illnesses of the lungs and urge everyone to contribute to a better and healthier environment so that the chemical exchange that takes place in our lungs and detoxifies our body is sustained, the source said.

Another health event is the National Tuberculosis Awareness Month which is an annual observance aimed at reducing the incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) and TB-related morbidity and mortality in the country. Tuberculosis or TB is the number five reason for the deaths and consultations in the country.

The Provincial TB Coordinator here Mila M. Laureta disclosed that for 2006 tuberculosis was the number four leading cause of death or 40.56 percent per 100,000 population. Out of the province's population of 543,067, almost 200 persons died of TB, the source explained.

The health office here in 2006 has case finding of 4,256 or those TB patients who availed of health services/medical consultations. Of this number, 746 were found positive by sputum examination, 854 though x-ray were active cases and 753 patients were treated with Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs or Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) Laureta explained.

In spite of the alarming situation, described to be the No. 4 leading cause of deaths the health office here has a cure-rate of 92 percent, DOH data showed.

The focus now would to treat and cure Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) cases. These were the patients treated under the TB program, but still manifest sputum positive in spite of the medication administered to these patients, the TB coordinator pointed out.

The MDR patients would be the focus of the treatment, as the disease is very contagious and responsible for spreading TB resistant bacilli, which is very expensive to treat or cure.

Another intervention is to follow up TB cases, while undergoing treatment, patients would be required to undergo sputum examination as scheduled or in accordance with the Manual of Procedure (MOP), the source pointed out.

The health office here likewise conducts BCG immunization among infants less than a-month-old in order to boost resistance against the disease. Though TB is not hereditary, but due to exposure to sputum-positive patients, the child would likely get sick of TB, the health coordinator explained.

To drum up the campaign against TB, the media sector has been tapped to become partners in the crusade against tuberculosis. The information, education and communication (IEC) component would help in explaining to people the importance of good health.

The support of the Antique Coalition Against Tuberculosis (ANCAT) especially in the review and validation of TB cases, correct or effective medication would be achieved to combat tuberculosis.

Laureta emphasized that the theme of this year's celebration is reflective of the interventions being carried out, summed up as "Quality Care in TB:Going for the Win in 2015," the TB coordinator added. (PIA) [top]

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