MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday it has achieved its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing tuberculosis (TB) prevalence and mortality rate by half relative to the 1990 baseline.
Citing the latest data, the DOH said that from 64 percent in 2010, TB case detection had improved to 99 percent as of 2015.
Also from 88 percent in 2010, TB treatment success had increased to 92 percent in 2015.
“Our success in TB detection and cure is not just the accomplishment of the DOH. This achievement will not be possible without the cooperation and active support of local government units, medical practitioners in the private sector, our academe, civil society groups, patients’ groups, and multilateral agencies, such as the WHO and USAID,” DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said.
However, she added that despite achieving such status, still there is no reason for the DOH to rest on the said laurels.
“The threat of MDR-TB (multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) is imminent. Anti-microbial resistance, a recognized global threat, is a clear and present danger, especially in TB,” the DOH Chief warned.
She said that because of incomplete or irregular treatments among patients, there tendency to develop MDR-TB or even death can happen.
Secretary Garin said that such is something that should be worked out with full cooperation and unity in order to prevent it from happening.
She added that while the costs of first-line TB medications have gone down over the years, the drugs for MDR-TB remain relatively expensive with painful and almost intolerable side effects.
“Hence we must all work together and ensure that MDR-TB does not become a significant disease burden in our country,” she stressed.
She also said that case detection and treatment rates should be boosted by enhancing case finding and case holding capabilities.
“Proper diagnosis and treatment of TB cases will help ensure that the number of MDR-TB cases does not increase,” she said.
MDR-TB is notoriously contagious and difficult to treat.
The Health Chief further appealed to make TB a disease of the past.
“Ending the global TB epidemic by 2030 is a target under the Sustainable Development Goals, which we have committed to achieve. Let us all work together in finding better detection and treatment options for TB,” she said.