Tuberculosis Awareness

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Last week , the maid I was supposed to employ arrived here in my house from the province.I was surprised to see how skinny she was and she looked way older than 35 yrs old. Interviewing her, I learned that her husband died 2 years ago and that she is alone in raising her five kids, her youngest child only 6 years old.
So , as part of her pre-employment , I sent her to have a chest x-ray since she would be taking care of my soon to be born baby.When the results came, she tested positive for pulmonary tuberculosis.She cried when I told her that i cannot continue to employ her since it would be very dangerous for my baby.  Infants are more susceptible to infections and other diseases.Moreover, my other daughter has a weak body resistance and has asthma aside from the fact that I am eight months, I had no choice but to sent her home as soon as possible.

Today, I have decided to help her.I know that the reason why she came here to work for me is because of the salary that she would be able to send home to her children. I pity her because i just couldn't ignore the fact that her children needs their mother to help them. I took her to the hospital to see the doctor. We were shocked to see that she weighed 35kgs only, that's about 77lbs only. The doctor said that it is because of her disease.  HerPTB (pulmonary tuberculosis) was already extensive and that may be because she got the disease when she was about as young as 10 or so.but because of poverty, they had no choice but to ignore their sickness. Now that she is 35 years old, the doctor said that if she will not undergo the 6-month treatment period, she may not live to see her youngest daughter go to high school.

As i pondered on this, I realized that maybe the reason why she was sent to me, is because she needs me to help her. People come to our lives with purposes and maybe the purpose to this is me helping her in anyway i can.I paid for her consultation fee. Right there, I told the doctor that I would sponsor her medicines for the duration of her treatment.The doctor said that it may be costly. When i got to the pharmacy to buy her medicines, I asked the pharmacist to compute cost for all the medicine for the whole 6 months and it added up to about 8,000 pesos. Well, I still don't know where I will get that extra money but I am sure when she goes home to the province on Monday, she will have the first 2 months supply of medicine.I'll worry about the rest later and will look for friends who will be able to help me. If not, then I have to do it on my own.The doctor said that if she would be able to complete the first 2 months treatment then she would not be contagious anymore.So, this is my promise...I promise to help her with her medication. I take this as an opportunity to help someone who really needs my help.We are seldom given that opportunity and I know that God didn't give me this if He know that i would not be able to do something about it.I am very positive that I would make a difference in the life of this helpless woman.I  know that this situation made me realize some things about life. I am also a mother, so I understand her worries about raising her five children alone , fighting this disease and facing the daily struggles of life.

Tonight, i thank God for everything He has given me. I realized that I am blessed in more ways than I really thought. Life has not always been easy for me but now I realized that I am still a lucky one.This situation has taught me the value of taking care of our health, family and most of all, about life itself.

Tuberculosis is curable!!!

An article from the department of health, philippines
Department of Health (DOH)

National TB Control Program
The rising incidence of tuberculosis has economic repercussions not only for the patient’s family but also for the country. Eighty percent of people afflicted with tuberculosis are in the most economically productive years of their lives, and the disease sends many self-sustaining families into poverty. The rise in the incidence of tuberculosis has been due to the low priority accorded to anti-tuberculosis activities by many countries. The unavailability of anti-TB drugs, insufficient laboratory networking, poor health infrastructures, including a lack of trained health personnel, have also contributed to the rise in the incidence of the diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, the Philippines ranks fourth in the world for the number of cases of tuberculosis and has the highest number of cases per head in Southeast Asia. Almost two thirds of Filipinos have tuberculosis, and up to five million people are infected yearly in our country.
In 1996, WHO introduced the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) to ensure completion of treatment.
The DOTS strategy depends on five elements for its success: Microscope, Medicines, Monitoring , Directly Observed Treatment, and Political Commitment). If any of these elements are missing, our ability to consistently cure TB patients slips through our fingers.

What is TB Network?
1. It is the official communication handle of the National Tuberculosis Control Program or NTP that will stand for DOH’s re-energized fight against TB.
2. It is a product of DOH’s collaboration with the LGUs, PhilCAT, and Philhealth.
3. It is a “special group” dedicated to help/ take care of TB symptomatics and TB patients.
a. Initially, it comprises regular health workers in the RHUs, MHOs and PHOs. b. Eventually, it will include everyone in the community who wish to help in the administration and financing of D.O.T.S.; family and relatives of TB symptomatics / patients, church, church organizations, civic organizations, NGOs, schools, companies/corporations.
1. TB Network comes with several information materials, such as print ads, radio and TV commercials. Poster of this TB Network as endorsed by Secretary Dayrit himself and with its battle cry “Kakampi Laban sa TB” will also be distributed as soon as ready.
2. It is participated in by the different stakeholders like donor agencies, private sector, non-government organizations, academe, professional societies, pharmaceutical companies and other TB DOTS partners and individual advocates united as one for a common cause.
3. Members of TB Network have also expanded to a huge number of other government agencies as also members of the Comprehensive & Unified Policy for TB Control in the Philippines or C.U.P.
4. DOH in cooperation with all the involved agencies as members of TB Network continuously works hand-in-hand in increasing case detection and cure rates in accordance with the NTP Targets every year.
5. In the end, it can blossom into a systematic, well-oiled, nationwide movement for the eventual complete eradication and/or control of TB-spearheaded by DOH.
Creative Considerations
1. Create a strong branding for NTP
2. Establish a human connection between the NTP and Target Audiences
3. Employ a unique visual device that is attractive, impactful, and memorable
Be a TB Networker now !
10 Roles of a TB-D.O.T.S. Advocate
1. Shares experiences and accomplishments in terms of cure and referral to TB Network.
2. Disseminates right information on TB through available Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) campaign materials.
3. Serves as moral support to TB patients and fellow advocates.
4. Refers individuals with cough for two weeks or more to the nearest D.O.T.S. center for proper management.
5. Conducts health education activities on how TB disease is acquired and developed.
6. Promotes D.O.T.S. services of TB Partners including private sector.
7. Advocates D.O.T.S. as the Strategy for curing TB.
8. Participates during NTP activities including National Health Events, if possible.
9. Encourages other people from different sectors to be a TB D.O.T.S. Advocate.
10. Assists the treatment partner or may serve as the treatment partner, if necessary.
TB vs. NTP-D.O.T.S
What is TB?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by TB bacteria ( tuberculosis) that primarily affects the lungs. This condition is known as pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). You may also have tuberculosis in the bones, meninges, joints, genito-urinary tract, liver, kidneys, intestines and heart and this is called extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.
What are some of the relevant TB statistics?
The Philippines is among the 22 high-burdened countries in the world according to W.H.O. TB is the 6th leading cause of illness and the 6th leading cause of deaths among the Filipinos. Most TB patients belong to the economically productive age- group (15-54 years-old) according to the 2nd National Prevalence Survey in 1997.
How does one get TB?
One gets infected with TB if he inhales the germs released from air droplets when a pulmonary TB patient coughs, sneezes and spits. A PTB patient whose sputum is positive for the TB germs/bacteria, if left untreated, may infect approximately 10-20 persons in two years.
How is TB diagnosed?
Pulmonary TB is suspected if a person has symptoms of cough for more than 2 weeks, fever, chest and back pains, poor appetite, loss of weight and hemoptysis. He should seek medical consultation and his sputum should be examined to detect the presence of TB germs/bacteria.
How is TB treated?
Tuberculosis is a curable disease. Patients are prescribed with appropriate regimen to render them non-infectious and cured, as early as possible. The treatment for TB is a combination of 3-4 anti-TB drugs. NEVER should we prescribe a SINGLE DRUG for TB treatment! This will worsen the patient’s condition.
What is D.O.T.S. ?
D.O.T.S. stands for Directly-Observed Treatment Short-course. It is a comprehensive strategy endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (IUATLD) to detect and cure TB patients.There are five elements of DOTS that need to be fulfilled. These are:
1. political commitment
2. quality sputum microscopy for diagnosis
3. regular supply of anti-TB drugs
4. standardized recording and reporting of TB data
5. supervised treatment by a treatment partner
According to the WHO Report on the TB Epidemic, 1997:A DOTS cure TB patients and it can produce cure rates as high as 95% even in the poorest countries.
A DOTS prevent new infections among children and adults.
A DOTS can stop resistance to anti-TB drugs.
A DOTS is cost-effective.
How can we avail of D.O.T.S. Services?
DOTS services are available in the rural health units, city health centers and govern ment hospitals around the country. Currently, there are also private facilities that are offering DOTS services to their clients.
Is TB curable?
YES! TB can be cured through D.O.T.S.
What is the National TB Program of the Government?
The National TB Program (NTP) is the Government’s commitment to address the TB problem in the country. The NTP is being implemented nationwide in all government health centers and government hospitals. Its objectives are to detect active TB cases (at least 70%) and cure them (at least 85%). Achieving and sustaining targets will eventually result to the decline of the TB problem in the Philippines.

More about Tuberculosis:

Post a Comment

Latest Videos

YouTube Channel

Articles Featured on

Articles Featured on