Tuberculosis in the Philippines
Plaridel B. Quileza
HCS 330 – Introduction to Health and Disease Trends
University of Phoenix
January 12, 2009
Mr. Peter Mabrey
Tuberculosis in the Philippines
Many underdeveloped countries of the world, like the Philippines, experience incidence of tuberculosis at a rate that is only relative to the corresponding efforts of the government and its medical department. Although the Philippine government continues to march towards reducing TB incidence in the urban areas through easier access to care, another population lives in rural areas where healthcare is seldom spoken, if ever. The people who live there are poor ...view middle of the document...
But the most important factor of the prevalence of TB in the Philippines is the socio-economic status of the people. Filipinos who are financially challenged do not have access to effective health care. With the enormous costs of anti-TB agents, infected poor Filipinos would self-medicate with herbs or relieve their pain by inhaling the smoke of a burning twig of a pine tree: saving the money for the next meal. Like my classmate and friend in high school, he opted out of diagnosis and treatment when he knew that his water buffalo will be the price. He eventually passed on from the disease for non treatment.
Modes of transmission
TB is spread through the air from one person to another. The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings. People nearby may breathe in these bacteria and become infected. Accordingly, TB is not spread by shaking someone’s hand, sharing food or drink, touching bed linens or toilet seats, sharing toothbrushes or kissing (CDC, 2009). Transmission of TB may occur by direct or indirect contact with persons who have active pulmonary lesions. Although TB is not easy to catch, prolonged exposure to an unrecognized active case may lead to infection (Hamman, 2007).
The Philippines ranks ninth on the list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis (TB) countries in the world, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global TB Report 2009. After China, it had the second highest number of cases in the WHO Western Pacific Region in 2007, and TB is the sixth greatest cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. In 2007, approximately 100 Filipinos died each day from the disease, but significant strides have been made in increasing case detection and treatment. In 2004, the country achieved a TB case detection rate of 72 percent, exceeding WHO’s target of 70 percent, and reached 75 percent in 2007. The DOTS (the internationally recommended strategy for TB control) treatment success rate reached WHO’s target of 85 percent in 1999 and has remained around 88 percent since then (USAID, 2009). While the national performance levels are already high, many provinces are still below target levels due to various systemic and social factors, including the difficulty of breaking down the stigma of TB, which keeps many of those infected from seeking care. The management of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) TB is expanding, with support from the Green Light Committee; however, WHO has reported extensively drug resistant TB in the Philippines. The availability of over-the-counter TB drugs and self-medication by patients continue to contribute to the emergence of TB drug resistance (USAID, 2009).
▪ To help the country in its fight against TB, USAID has set interventions that if followed and observed the prevalence of the disease in the Philippines will be much lower. The interventions include enhancing national and local level...