LGU-Tacurong City through the Office for the City Health Services (OCHS) enjoined the participants of the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day Forum to be advocates of TB testing, treatment, and cure for all towards achieving zero TB deaths. This call is in line with the 2014 World TB Day theme: A TB Test, Treatment, and Cure for All. The forum was conducted on March 28.

OCHS advised participants to encourage suspected TB-infected individuals to avail of the free sputum exam at the city health center. TB, if detected and treated early, can be cured.

Tacurong TB-DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short Course) center caters child and adult patients with TB of all forms for free, whether they are PhilHealth members or not. TB treatment takes a minimum of six months given that the patient is not multi-drug resistant.

Once detected, TB patients must undergo treatment for two weeks to eliminate the possibility of infecting other people around them. Right after detection, the patient will have to immediately proceed to the city’s TB-DOTS center for counseling and to get his/her medicines. From the second day to the sixth month, the patient must meet with the barangay health worker everyday. However, the patient must again undergo a sputum exam at the city health center before the second month ends. The patient will again undergo the sputum exam before the fourth and fifth month ends.

In 2013, Tacurong OCHS detected 138 TB cases, and cured 89 patients. Most patients cannot complete the free 6-month TB counseling and treatment. “Karamihan sa mga pasyente, hindi kayang makipagkita sa kanilang rural health worker araw-araw for treatment. Sabi ng iba, dahil walang pamasahe, dahil sa stigma, o dahil wala daw sapat na pagkain araw-araw,” said Lorelie Muyuela, OCHS Nurse. TB patients constantly feel hungry especially if they are in high dosage medication. “We hope to increase our TB cure rate this year by involving sectors in the community. We hope to encourage TB patients to complete their treatment to be cured,” said Dr. Giovanni Deles, City Health Officer.

Tuberculosis remains the 6th cause of death and morbidity in the Philippines. Three out of ten Filipinos have tuberculosis. World TB Day was celebrated on March 24, 2014. (LGU-Tacurong City Information)