PBSP celebrates Lung Month with partner LGUs
In celebration of the Lung Month, Philippine Business for Social Progress, through its Advancing Client-centered Care and Expanding Sustainable Services for TB (ACCESS TB) Project, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with provincial and local government units, health facilities, and TB partners nationwide.
PBSP, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines and the Department of Health – National TB Control Program (DOH-NTP), initiated the discussion on how the government and health sector can achieve the country’s goal to end Tuberculosis (TB).
Mr. Elvin Ivan Y. Uy, PBSP Executive Director, welcomed more than 200 participants from different regions in the country. Uy reiterated that TB remains a major public health concern in the Philippines. He also emphasized that the ACCESS TB Project vows to continue its work to support the DOH-NTP in this fight against TB.
RACE TO END TB
During the event, Dr. Rajendra Yadav, WHO Medical Officer, shared the impact and challenges of the TB control program that is currently overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stressed how the provincial and local governments can reinforce the initiatives and efforts in implementing TB strategies in their respective regions.
“In 2019, Philippines was doing very good in the treatment coverage since 2015. We were getting close to the global performance in terms of our treatment coverage but unfortunately, COVID-19 struck and it decreased our performance. The TB case notification declined by 37.2% in the Philippines between 2019 and 2020,” Dr. Yadav said.
He also cited the strengths of the TB control program, which include optimized placement of GeneXpert machines and deployment of Specimen Transport Riders (STRiders), integrated health workforce, and innovative information system for TB.
TB CONTROL PROGRAM IN THE NEW NORMAL
Meanwhile, Dr. Anna Marie Celina Garfin, DOH-NTP Program Manager, presented the NTP Adaptive Plan (NAP) guidelines to ensure a standard implementation of TB cascade of care in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and care services while mitigating the transmission of COVID-19.
“For the TB program, case finding activity is very important to find the missing people with TB. However, these activities were greatly affected by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If we do not continue or provide our services right away, TB cases will really increase,” she said.
In her message, Dr. Garfin also encouraged the local chief executives nationwide to support the TB screening and testing in vaccination sites, incorporate TB contract tracing among the tasks of COVID-19 contact tracers, optimize the presence of NGO partners, and increase the capability of LGUs to cope with the changing conditions brought by the new normal.
GEARING UP TO END TB
ACCESS TB Project Program Manager, Mr. Arnyl G. Araneta, shared the components of the project that aim to reduce TB incidence and mortality, and achieve zero-TB affected families facing catastrophic costs by 2023.
Under the MOA, ACCESS TB Project will provide technical support, procurement of drugs and diagnostics, provision of laboratory equipment and supplies, deployment of medical staff, support for operational expenses, and other assistance to scale-up the TB control program across the country.
Moreover, the implementing partner will be responsible to deliver an effective and efficient clinical and laboratory services among the TB patients covered by the ACCESS TB project.
Aside from that, Araneta also shared the COVID-19 initiatives of PBSP, through the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The Global Fund allocated another $35.5 million to support major interventions in COVID-19 control and containment and mitigation of COVID-19 effects to the TB program.
The Beyond 2022: Accelerating Commitment and Stewardship to Achieve Zero TB was held to strengthen the partnership in creating an enabling environment and providing sustainable solutions to the improvement of TB service delivery amidst the pandemic.
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