The Department of Health (DoH)-Mimaropa and the local officials of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan have teamed up to address the reported increase in the number of Palaweños afflicted with tuberculosis or TB.
“TB is one of our priorities until the fourth quarter of this year because there were reports of cases being higher here,” Mario Baquilod, OIC regional director of DoH-Mimaropa, said in an interview yesterday.
Puerto Princesa had around 200 cases of TB five years ago. It rose to 400 to 700 in 2017. This year, 400 Palaweños afflicted with the infectious disease have been recorded.
“What needs to be strengthened in Palawan is the TB control program activating communities and patient groups promptly to access quality services, collaboration with other government agencies to reduce out-of-pocket expenses and expansion of social protection programs, harmonization of local and national efforts to mobilize adequate and competent human resources, and enforce standards on TB care and prevention and use of quality products, among others,” Baquilod said.
“Despite significant progress, TB continues to be the top infectious killer that has to be controlled. Here in Puerto Princesa and your province, it is one of the health priorities that we will work on in the following days,” he added.
Dr. Dean Palanca, assistant city health officer of the Puerto Princesa City, said they will coordinate with non-government organizations that have activities with indigent residents and encounters those afflicted with tuberculosis.
The official added they can be encouraged to help by referring medical mission patients who will be detected with the infectious disease.
“We will ask them to immediately refer to us residents who will be detected with TB so that intervention can be immediately managed since medication is long, sometimes up to two years of continuous medication,” he said.
Palanca added that the number of TB drug-resistant patients is also increasing in Puerto Princesa.
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Mycobeacterium tuberculosis, acquired through inhalation of droplets containing tubercle bacilli. It is the sixth leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the country and claims 75 to 90 lives daily.
Symptoms of this disease includes cough, loss of weight and energy, poor appetite, fever and night sweats.