April 23, 2024

The town of Atok, Benguet has passed an ordinance strengthening its implementation of the tuberculosis control program.

In its Ordinance 92-2023, it adopts the implementation of the National Tuberculosis Control Program to strengthen and support all activities of the program to attain a TB-free community.

Councilor Marilou Zarate, proponent of the ordinance, said there is poor level of awareness when it comes to TB, thus there is a need for the municipality to drum up health promotion activities.

This includes community outreach TB education and distribution of information education campaign materials to reach the residents.

Zarate said through the ordinance, the Municipal Health Office would monitor and evaluate the performance of the rural health units and barangay health station, as well as medical personnel providing public health services in implementing the TB control program. 

The program shall cover all residents, transients. and non-residents of Atok.

The Department of Health through the Provincial Health Office will be responsible for providing drugs needed for TB control, as the supply has been erratic. The MHO, meanwhile, will be responsible in providing buffer stock of the necessary drugs and commodities for TB patients. 

The ordinance stated the MHO shall ensure the patients undergoing TB treatments must be properly given the support and encouragement especially from the barangay health workers who shall follow up the patients.

“It is important for treatment partners to be able to go to the patients, rather than the patients going to the treatment partner, particularly if distances are far, to ensure treatment compliance,” the ordinance reads.

To realize the program, there shall be an annual fund of at least P50,000 appropriated for its sustainability.

The funding shall prioritize the following aspects: ensured allocation for the TB program, proper implementation of the national TB control program and the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategies ensuring a case detection of at least 85 percent and a treatment success rate of at least 90 percent, and to advocate for the continuous investment for quality improvement and certification and accreditation of local health facilities and DOTS centers.

PhilHealth payments for TB Dots package shall be deposited in a separate trust fund account of the municipality for the MHO and shall be disbursed in accordance with the PhilHealth policies and guidelines.  

The Atok ordinance was favorably reviewed and endorsed by the Benguet Provincial Board. – Ofelia C. Empian