A LAWMAKER on Saturday called for greater involvement from barangays in tackling tuberculosis, which the Department of Health (DoH) said remains among the top 10 leading causes of death in the Philippines.
“We need greater involvement from our barangay health system in addressing tuberculosis in our communities. Maraming hamon na pine-presenta ang TB treatment na makakatulong ang mga barangay sa pagtugon,” AnaKalusugan Rep. Ray T. Reyes said.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that 15,689 out of 563,465 recorded deaths among Filipinos from January to November 2022 were due to respiratory tuberculosis.
The DoH said recently that according to the Field Health Services Information System, 119,558 Filipinos were stricken with TB from January to December 2022.
Reyes said that there remains a stigma surrounding the disease, which both the national government and local government units should help dispel.
“Mayroong takot na lubos itong nakakahawa, bukod sa ina-associate din ang TB sa HIV, kahirapan, at hindi magandang gawain,” he said.
A renewed information campaign is needed to dispel such negative perception of the disease, as well as encourage suspected patients to consult with their community health center for diagnosis and treatment.
“Ngunit ang isa pang matinding hamon na nakikita natin ay walang tumututok sa treatment ng mga pasyente. Dahil mahaba ang treatment, kadalasan ay hindi ito nagiging priority ng mga nagkaka-TB kahit na available naman ang lunas,” the lawmaker added.
The directly-observed treatment short course (DOTS) for TB lasts from six to 10 months.
Reyes said that barangays need to establish a community monitoring protocol to ensure that patients abide by the DOTS.
“Our barangay health workers are trusted members of the community, and we should capitalize on this trust to encourage our fellow Filipinos to seek treatment not only for TB, but for all diseases,” said the solon.