Olongapo City, Philippines – Zero Mella MD, now a rural health physician assigned in two barangays in Olongapo City has been invited to attend a symposium about Tuberculosis (TB) hosted by the leading organization combating the disease in the country, the Philippine Coalition against Tuberculosis or PhilCAT. The symposium is entitled “You are the cure.” and discusses PPMD which stands for Public-Private Mix DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Short-course). It is a strategy by the Department of Health along with PhilCAT to address the problem of TB in the country.
Introduction by Dr. Dadural of the Zambales National Tuberculosis Program revealed that the prevalence of TB has been decreasing ever since DOTS has been introduced in the country. Surveys showed that only 26.7% of patients have been receiving anti-TB therapy in the country via DOTS. A very large percentage of private hospitals and private physicians has been treating TB patients in the country with values of 16% and 21.7% attendance respectively. Public hospitals and local health centers has been receiving about 26.4% of the patients. This has led the PhilCAT to create a new protocol to include both public and private physicians to help each other in the DOTS program.
The aims of the program is
- TO CURE TB PATIENTS by helping them have proper access to proper TB diagnostic and treatment services
- by encouraging the participation of public and private health providers for TB care
- by diagnosing and treating TB patients according to International Standards for TB Care (ISTC) and NTP policies and guidelines
- by referring TB symptomatics for sputum AFB microscopy to microscopy centers with trained microscopists on DSSM.
- by referring patients diagnosed with TB for treatment to the nearest PPMD unit
- TO CURE TB PATIENTS AND THEIR LOVED ONES from the state of isolation and helplessness by providing them the support that they need
- by mobilizing resources for TB support activities and other related programs
- by passing ordinances and resolutions in support of the TB program
- by giving high priority to TB control in my LGU programs by alloting sufficient funds for TB control initiatives
- by volunteering as treatment partners
- by initiating the formation of support groups for TB patients and their relatives
- TO CURE THE COMMUNITY from ignorance and apathy by raising awareness about TB and the DOTS strategy
- by assisting in the information dissemination and education campaign
- by providing and sustaining TB education program through orientation and counseling to high-risk and vulnerable population groups
- by mobilizing resources for TB advocacy and other program activities
The seminar not only invited doctors but also local government units, and representatives from the different private hospitals in Olongapo City.