The reporting of tuberculosis (TB) cases to health authorities dropped by 35% last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
On World TB Day, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said a modeling study by the Imperial College of London projected 65,100 to 146,300 TB deaths if local services for TB patients are limited for another year.
The DOH said it had received reports of over 268,000 new and relapse TB cases by the end of 2020, 35% lower than 2019 data.
“The year 2019 saw us… increasing our TB program budget and TB notification cases by 20%, resulting in the logging of 1.1 million cases of tuberculosis from 2017 to 2019,” Duque was quoted as saying.
“However, the year 2020 presented us with the global COVID-19 pandemic, a health challenge of unprecedented scale that required immediate and thorough action.”
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s 2020 global TB report found that the Philippines had the highest TB incidence rate across Asia, with 554 cases for every 100,000 people.
The Philippines has received support for its TB response from the WHO, United States Agency for International Development, Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis, StopTB Partnership, and Global Fund against HIV, TB, and Malaria.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormous health and economic impacts, even affecting our TB response. But let us come together and bring our TB response back on track,” Duque urged. -MDM, GMA News