700,000 Filipinos develop tuberculosis every year –DOH
Around 700,000 Filipinos nationwide develop tuberculosis every year, according to the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday.
Dr. Ronald Allan Fabella, Global Fund Advisor of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, said at least 470,000 Filipinos availed tuberculosis prevention services in 2022.
“Sa ngayon ang good news noong 2022, nanumbalik yung ating services sa TB tulad noong bago pa mag-COVID so nakapagtala tayo ng around 470,000 na nagsimula ng gamutan pero sa estimate ng World Health Organization (WHO) kulang pa yun doon sa dapat nating makita so tinatansa nila na mayroong mga 700,000 Filipinos yung may TB every year,” Fabella said in DOH Kapihan Forum.
(The good news in 2022, our TB services have returned to the same as pre-COVID. We have recorded around 470,000 who have started treatment. However, the estimate of the WHO is still short of what we should have reported, so they are evaluating that there are about 700,000 Filipinos who develop TB every year.)
Quoting the global tuberculosis report of the WHO released in 2022, he said approximately 60,000 Filipinos died due to tuberculosis, while around 741,000 Filipinos developed active tuberculosis in 2021.
Fabella said this was a 15% increase from 2015 to 2021.
“Hindi naman nakakapagtaka ito dahil alam natin yung COVID nakaapekto sa ating mga buhay at bahagi doon naapektuhan yung programa para sa TB eliminations so nakita natin sa COVID na bumaba yung bilang ng TB patients na nadidiagnose at nabibigyan natin ng gamutan,” he said.
(This is not surprising because we know that COVID-19 affected our lives, and part of that affected the program for TB elimination, so we have seen a decrease in the number of TB patients diagnosed and given treatment.)
“Sa TB control po kasi ang importante matigil ang transmission at para matigil ang transmission kailangan madetect sila at magamot sila. The more nadedetect natin at nagagamot, the more na mapapabilis natin ang pagwala ng sakit na ito,” he added.
(In TB control, the important thing is to stop the transmission. In order to stop the transmission, they need to be detected and treated. The more we detect and treat the disease, the more we can swiftly prevent the spread of this disease.)
According to the WHO, tuberculosis is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs but also spread to different organs of the body. It said that tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
The illness was spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung tuberculosis cough, sneeze, or spit, they propel the tuberculosis germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected, it added.
Among the symptoms when a person develops active tuberculosis are cough, fever, night sweats or weight loss.
Asked if this is a public health problem, Fabella said “Opo, hindi natin ito masyado naririnig sa media pero minsan ang tawag namin sa TB [ay] ‘silent killer’ dahil wala tayong nababalita na ganito, ang namatay sa TB, pero marami particular sa Pilipinas ang may sakit sa TB,” he added.
(Yes, we don't hear much about it in the media, but sometimes we call TB the "silent killer” because we don't hear anything like this or those who died due to TB, but there are many people in the Philippines who developed this disease.)
Fabella encouraged those with symptoms of tuberculosis to consult their health centers or rural health units.
“Bahagi ng programa ng DOH yung collaboration with the private sector, so nakikipagtulungan tayo sa mga professional medical societies para yung ating standard of care na ginagawa sa public pareho between public and private at ang requirement lang naman sa ating private physician kung sila ay magkaroon ng diagnosis na TB ay required lang na ireport sa DOH para sa ating tinatawag na health surveillance yun ay nirereport nila sa pamamagitan ng electronic reporting natin,” he said.
(Part of the DOH program is collaboration with the private sector. So, we collaborate with professional medical societies for our standard of care through both in the public and private sector, with the only requirement for our private physician is if they have a diagnosis of TB, they are required to report it to the DOH for health surveillance. That is what they report through our electronic reporting.)
“Ngayon kung sa private sila nagpagamot syempre kailangan bumili ng gamot at medyo kulang ang budget or kailangan ng tulong pwede silang pumunta sa health center at doon makipagugnayan. Yung services po para i-test ang plema, yung mga gamot for treatment available po ito sa ating health centers or primary health care units nationwide,” he added.
(If they get treatment privately, of course, they need to buy medicine. They can also go to the health center and communicate with them. The services to test the phlegm and the drugs for treatment are available at our health centers or primary health care units nationwide.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News