Saturday, July 16, 2016

Albay to establish PHP10M worth facility to fight TB
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, July 15 (PNA) -- A provincial health official said Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara has approved creation of a PHP10-million two-story building to help a public-private sector partnership carry out its role in helping rid the province of tuberculosis (TB).

Dr. Antonio Ludovice, assistant provincial health officer and current head of Josefina Duran Belmonte District Hospital (JDBDH) in Ligao City, said Bichara has approved the construction of the facility for Albay Coalition Against TB (ALCAT) to serve TB patients and facilitate prevention and control of this highly communicable disease.

“Our aim is to prevent, reduce local variations in TB control program performance, scale up and ensure provision of quality TB services,” he said.

ALCAT, which is a public and private sector collaboration towards a TB-free Albay, will work in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) to spearhead efforts to control tuberculosis.

He said the partnership will work with leading local specialty societies of chest physicians, infectious disease specialists and pharmaceutical industry representatives to realize its goals.

TB remains one of the world's most deadly diseases. It is estimated that three persons die every minute from causes related to TB. Each year, nine million people develop TB while 1.5 million die from the disease.

Albay recently received recognition for the provincial government’s strong support for the National TB Program (NTP)

According to DOH-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control (DOH-NCDPC), through NTP, the Philippines was able to achieve the global targets of 70 percent case detection for new smear positive TB cases with “89 percent of these successfully treated.“

DOH-NCDPC said various initiatives by the NTP with critical stakeholders as partners allowed the program to sustain its targets.

“Nonetheless, emerging concerns like drug resistance and co-morbidities need to be addressed to prevent rapid transmission and future generation of such threats,” it said.

“Coverage should also be broadened to capture the marginalized populations and the vulnerable groups namely, urban and rural poor, captive populations (inmates/prisoners), elderly and indigenous groups,” DOH-NCDPC added.

Meanwhile, Ludovice added that the provincial government will convert JDBDH into Albay Provincial Hospital.

“We need to increase the bed capacity from 25 to 100 and be upgraded from a secondary to tertiary hospital,” he said.

He also said the HIV program of the provincial government under the Albay AIDS Council and Facility will be permanently based in the same hospital. The human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is known to cause HIV infection and the acquired immunodeficiency virus or AIDS.(PNA) FFC/GVR/MDR/CBD