Maria Rosario Vergeire

DOH: 70 Filipinos die daily from tuberculosis

March 25, 2023 People's Tonight 251 views

ABOUT 70 Filipinos die daily from tuberculosis (TB), a serious illness caused by bacteria affecting the lungs.

In her speech during World TB Day on Friday, Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Vergeire described the disease as “curable,” with 1.6 million recorded deaths in 2021.

“We are only one of the eight countries that account for two-thirds of the estimated global cases. The Philippines is also the fourth-largest contributor of TB cases at 7 percent of the global total,” she said.

“For every 100,000 Filipinos, an estimated 650 individuals were infected with TB in 2021, a huge difference from our 554 per 100,000 from the year prior.”

TB incidence is predicted to increase by 130 percent and TB deaths by 170 percent by 2025.

According to the World Health Organization Global Tuberculosis Report 2022, the Philippines is one of the “top 10 countries” that accounted for more than 90 percent reduction in case notification of people who are newly diagnosed with TB in 2021 compared with those in 2019.

In terms of TB treatment, Vergeire disclosed that the National Capital Region (NCR) reached its target treatment enrolment, followed by Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas, with high enrolment rates.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) continue to lag.

“Our problem with TB is a vicious cycle. This disease primarily affects the poor as poverty exposes individuals to TBs risk factors, such as poor nutrition, crowded, and poorly ventilated environments, smoking, alcohol use disorders, HIV, and diabetes,” she said.

Studies show that the number of unemployed and the number of people living under the poverty line increase when the poor are infected with TB due to its treatment cost.

TB, as a major health equity issue, could be addressed by improving access to health care services and the living conditions of Filipinos.

Vergeire said the Philippine Acceleration Plan for TB employs a whole of system, a whole of government, and a “whole-of-society” approach and recognizes the role of other national government agencies.

Philippine News Agency