December 5, 2023

The Department of Health Cordillera is urging people afflicted with tuberculosis to avail of free treatment services and for their contacts to be tested for the disease.

“We want to extend services to the public who needs or wants to be tested, especially those who need to undergo treatment. They have nothing to worry about payments. They just need to come forward,” Dr. Jennifer Joyce Pira, DOH-CAR medical officer IV, said in a briefing on Oct. 18.

Statistics provided during the briefing show that from 2019 until the first semester of the year, 12,537 cases were recorded in the region, with 11,389 cured after completing the treatment.

However, 464 of the patients died because of the disease, 39 failed to complete the treatment, while the remaining 645 did not return for follow-up check-ups.

Pira said rural health units in the region have tuberculosis directly observed therapy short course (TB-DOTS) clinics that provide free services like X-ray and confirmatory tests.

She said if a person has been confirmed to be positive for TB, he will be placed under a six-month treatment which should be heeded without any break.

“The services and medicines are given free. The DOH purchases medicines and supplies and these are released to the TB DOTS clinics nationwide,” she added.

Pira said the stigma of being identified as a TB patient is a thing of the past since there are ways to prevent transmission if suspected patients would only have themselves tested.

Among the symptoms of the disease are prolonged cough with some patients sometimes coughing out blood, chest pain, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

“The only way to protect our loved ones from being infected is by knowing that we do not have it. But if we do, we can implement safety measures and possibly have our loved ones be tested also and undergo treatment if they are infected,” she said. – PNA