DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) XI has reported 10,363 cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in the region from January to June this year. But this is not alarming, the agency said.
Davao City recorded the most number of new cases with 4,315, followed by Davao del Norte with 2,209, Davao de Oro with 1,359, Davao del Sur with 1,247, Davao Oriental with 889, and Davao Occidental with 334.
DOH XI regional director Dr. Annabelle Yumang said the data is only the result of their agency’s intensified case findings in various communities.
“Sa una man gud our method or pamaagi sa atong pag-examine katong gitawag natog sputum examination and usually kung dili sakto ang specimen, katong plemas nga mahatag, dili gyud na sya madetect. So this time nadetect na gyud sya tungod kay gigamitan natog chest x-ray (Our method before is through sputum examination and usually if the specimen is not enough, [TB] can’t be detected. This time, it can be detected because we’re already using chest x-ray)”, she said in a recent press conference.
DOH-XI presented a significant decrease in the first half of 2023 compared to the16,147 cases in 2022 and 10,636 in 2021.
Yumang said this could be attributed to their active campaign on TB prevention and the health promotion aspect where she highlighted the DOH’s need for partners, especially the public.
TB is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria which mainly affects the lungs. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or spits. It is the second leading infectious killer around the world but it is preventable and curable.
The DOH has earlier introduced new strategies to combat the spread of TB as the Philippines continues to be one of the countries with records of high cases. One is to encourage patients not to abandon therapy through the shortened treatment or from six to nine months to just four months. It also started to implement artificial intelligence diagnosis with radiology using X-rays for immediate results.
In March this year, a group in partnership with DOH-XI launched a support hotline dubbed CallKaLungs to accommodate TB-related concerns from Dabawenyos.
The Tuberculosis Advocates Insight Dabaw, Inc. wants to provide help through referrals, initial screening, and free health literacy against social stigma about TB. (Kath Cortez/davaotoday.com)DOH, TB, XI