The provincial government of Negros Oriental, represented by Gov. Roel Degamo, the Department of Health and local health officials yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the TB-DOTS, or Tuberculosis Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course, program.
Hospital implementation of TB-DOTS is considered a milestone in the TB prevention and control program in the province.
The signing of the MOU means that out of the 17 hospitals in the province, 16 will be involved in the hospital TB DOTS implementation.
Dr. Socrates Villamor, team leader of the provincial office of the Department of Health, said the program covers the roles of the hospitals, the DOH and the rural health units in terms of the referral system of TB symptomatic patients.
The DOH provides assistance, such as free treatment and medication and free X-ray films for the province’s MagDegamo Ta mobile X-ray unit to these facilities.
Latest data show that the province has a low case detection rate and has not reached its target of 85 percent in 2013, but it reached its target Treatment Success Rate of 90 percent in the same year, Villamor said.
Available statistics on TB in the province show that while the national target for case detection rate is 85 percent, Negros Oriental only acquired a 63 percent rate in 2013. But its Treatment Success Rate was at 93 percent, higher than the national target of 90 percent.
As of 2014, reported TB cases in Negros Oriental reached 1,492.
Dr. Edgardo Barredo, chief of the Integrated Provincial Hospital Office, said that for several years, TB was among the leading cases of morbidity in the province but was not in the list of top 10 leading causes of death in Negros Oriental. If the data is accurate, there is a significant reduction in TB incidents last year. However, he was unable to give the exact number of cases.
Barredo said he is happy with the signing of the MOU because 43 percent of TB symptomatic patients seek care or consultation at the district hospitals and community primary hospitals.
Now that these hospitals are engaged as partners in the anti-TB campaign, Barredo said there is a possibility of increased detection rate of symptomatic patients that will lead to early diagnosis, management and treatment.
The initiatives of the province to increase case detection or case finding include the provincial allocation for TB control program of P600,000, the Magdegamo medical mission and free x-ray using the mobile x-ray van of the province, and the provincial TB Team that provides technical assistance and regular monitoring and evaluation of the TB control program, and ensures that its implementation is at par with standards set by national policies.*JFP