Recent surveillance found that yearly success rate for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in the country to have exceeded the global annual target of 85%.
Researchers said, the trend suggests that the Philippines is very likely to achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the World health Organization’s (WHO) Stop TB targets before 2015.
The MDG target for the TB prevention and control is to halt and reverse the incidence of TB in the countries such as the Philippines by 2015. Whereas, Stop TB Partnership, a worldwide program launched by WHO, prescribes two more specific targets: to halve TB prevalence and death rates reported in 1990 by 2015 and to completely eradicate the disease by 2050.
The National TB Control Program (NTP) of the Department of Health (DOH) aimed to achieve the MDG targets for TB through the directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) strategy, which successfully achieved nationwide coverage in 2003 with the establishment of DOTS facilities in various public, private and non-government institutions.
Following the data on the treatment of 1,379,390 TB patients submitted to the National TB Control Program (NTP) from the 2003 to 2011, researchers from National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Department of Health (NCDPC-DOH) and Control and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program found that the eight-year average success rate for the treatment of TB in the Philippines is 90%. This is above 5% than the global yearly target.
Researchers discussed that the positive trend depicts improvement in the country’s case detection and success in making TB services accessible in remote and poor communities.
While predicting that the country would be able to achieve its MDG and stop TB targets before 2015, researchers noted that there are still rooms for improvement to better the provision of care to patients with TB. They cited improving the referral system, the provision of follow-up examinations for patients under treatment, and strengthening the TB information system for better surveillance, planning and decision-making in TB programs as keys in sustaining high treatment success rate among TB patients in the country.
REFERENCE: Vianzon, R., Garfin, A., Lagos, A., & Belen, R. (2013). The tuberculosis profile of the Philippines, 2003–2011: advancing dots and beyond. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal, 4(2), Retrieved from http://www.wpro.who.int/wpsar/volumes/04/2/2013_VBD_SR_Vianzon/en/