DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A support group here in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) XI will be launching their hotline for Dabawenyos to cater concerns on Tuberculosis (TB) and other related diseases.

Through the hotline’ CallKaLungs’, the Tuberculosis Advocates Insight (TBai), Dabaw, Inc. aims to help the public through initial screening, doctor referral, discussing symptoms, and understanding the effects of TB medication.

“Kami isip mga support group ug mga volunteer group, as an NGO actively working para makatabang sa DOH sa programa sa National TB program nagabuhat mi og kini nga pamaagi aron ang mga tao pwedi mutawag using the hotline,” said Victor Tudtud, President and Founder of TBai Dabaw.

The hotline is available in other four pilot areas in the country to give the public additional access to better understand and cure the disease.

According to DOH XI, TB is an airborne disease caused by a bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs and is spread from person to person) with common symptoms of cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

Based on their report, the region has more than 16,000 cases in 2022 higher than the 14,000 cases during the pandemic which contributes to the total nationwide toll of 470,000 cases of tuberculosis in 2022.

“The main reason why during the pandemic medyo mababa ang ating cases ng TB is simply because they are afraid to be tagged as a Covid case,” said Evelyn Gelito, Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Program in DOH-XI

Gelito said this number is still increasing, failing the target to detect and treat 2.5 million Filipinos by 2022 as a commitment to the United Nations due to the pandemic. However, DOH XI also attributes the increase in 2022 to the increasing public awareness that led them to seek medical help and undergo treatment.

To curb the number of TB cases Gelito said the DOH has intensified its prevention and control mechanism through campaigns to eliminate the highly contagious airborne disease in the country.

Gelito also urges the public to visit their barangay clinics or any hospitals once they experience symptoms of TB.

Gelito said that one factor is the poor living environment of Filipinos where many people live in poorly unventilated and overcrowded places that constitute a direct risk for TB transmission within the households. Those with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to the disease especially since this sector of society also has the least access to health services.

“Kung magkaron ka kasi nga TB, the best way to prevent it aside from taking the medicine or magkaon ka og mga nutritious food, dapat naa gyud kay proper ventilation. Nganong dapat naay proper ventilation para makaescape sya ang air. Kasi kung dikit dikit na sya high chances gyud nga magkaTB ka lalong lalo na kung kana nga area naay may TB tapos wala sya naginom og tambal.”

In the study by the World Health Organization, the Philippines has recently ranked fourth in the world for higher TB burden countries. (davaotoday.com)

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