DOH records 50% decrease in TB cases during strict lockdown – DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reported a 50-percent drop in cases of tuberculosis when the government implemented strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last mid-March.
“There was a study done, nag-collect ng data sa mga different facilities, ano ang nangyari nung nagkaroon ng ECQ… Nagkaroon ng 50 percent reduction of the number of patients that we have identified, mula sa March bumaba siya,” Dr. Anna Marie Celina Garfin, head of DOH national program for the treatment of tuberculosis, said during an online webinar with local government unit, discussing a data on effects of the pandemic to tuberculosis treatment in the country.
(We collected data from different facilities, what happened in ECQ. There is a 50-percent reduction of the number of patients that we have identified, since March it was decreased.)
Health chief Francisco Duque previously said the reduction of tuberculosis cases is not good news as the COVID-19 crisis had affected and limited Filipinos’ behavior to seek treatment for their health status.
According to the 2019 Global Report for Tuberculosis, the Philippines has the highest incidence rate among its Association of Southeast Nation counterparts.
Garfin said the incidence rate is the number of new tuberculosis cases per year. The Philippines has 554 new cases per 100,000 people which means the country has over 591,000 total tuberculosis cases.
However, Garfin explained that only 372,000 cases of the respiratory disease were reported, meaning 219,000 remain untreated or unreported.
“Sa data natin, sa 2018, ang na-report natin ay 372,000 and sabi ko nga ang total number of cases based on estimates 591,000 TB cases so meron tayong 219,000 na hindi natin nahahanap and hindi na-start na treatment. It is important na mahanap natin sila and ma-place ang treatment. With this, we will stop the spread of tuberculosis,” she said.
(In our data, in 2018, we reported 372,000. I said based on estimates the total number of cases in the country is 591,000 cases so we have 219,000 that have not yet been identified or have not started treatment. It is important for us to look for them to have treatment. With this, we will stop the spread of tuberculosis.)
To address this issue, Garfin urged local government units to have services available to treat tuberculosis patients. [ac]
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