Sibugay PMSA bats for right information on TB PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 December 2014 13:29

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay – Tuberculosis has always been a major concern to most Filipinos. It is one disease people despise and run away from just by hearing about it.

Over the years, the number of TB patients rose drastically. Tuberculosis is now the 6th leading cause of death and sickness in the Philippines. Based from statistics, 75 Filipinos die of TB every day and there are still several unreported cases in various communities especially in the far-flung areas.

But what really is tuberculosis? Is there a reason for us to be terrified about it?

In the 4th quarterly meeting of the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Multi-Sectoral Alliance (PMSA) against Tuberculosis, the group strongly advocates to eradicate prejudice and wrong assumption of the disease with its battle cry: “Stop discrimination, spread the right information!”

The group comprises the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), Department of Health (DOH)-9, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-9, Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the academe, civil society groups, and the media.

Tuberculosis, which was discovered in Germany in 1882 by Dr. Robert Koch, is no enigma; it was present even in early years.

As a communicable disease, tuberculosis can be transferred from one person to the next simply by being near to the host person carrying the bacteria “Tubercle Bacilli”.  How? It transmits through the air because it is airborne.

When one person breathes the air that is infected with TB bacilli especially when a carrier coughs, sneezes, spits or even talks, he is potently in higher risk of getting the disease.

A person that is possibly infected with the bacteria may have a cough, which will last for more than two weeks or 14 days. In other cases, he may have afternoon fever and night sweats. He will lose his appetite on food, which will cause weight loss and in extreme cases, anorexia.

A person suffering from tuberculosis may also feel chest and back pains. He easily gets fatigue and shortness of breaths from doing simple tasks. And to top it all, he is likely to cough or vomit blood.

Based from research, tuberculosis can infect anyone despite of age. It is common between ages 15-64 years old. But the age group usually prone to the disease is young adults who are 25-34 years old.

“Tuberculosis should not worry anyone, because it is certainly curable,” said Dr. Sherwin F. Bastero, provincial coordinator of the National TB Program.

The doctor explained that the stigma associated with TB remains a critical issue in several communities in the Philippines. It is attributed to be one of the reasons why patients refused to get treatment because they are afraid to get discriminated.

Moreover, Dr. Bastero noted that delayed diagnosis of the disease proves a higher risk for acquiring the infectious disease.

“It is one of the contributing factors of higher reproductive rate of TB epidemic at the community level.”

He emphasized that lack of knowledge about tuberculosis, financial constraints, and inaccessibility of healthcare services and facilities also contributes to delayed diagnosis of patients.

Dr. Bastero encouraged Sibugaynons suspected of having tuberculosis to visit health centers and other medical facilities of the government near their locality for a treatment.

The DOH is providing a free treatment for TB patients with the help of the partner health facilities in the province and stakeholders of the PMSA. —FPG/EDT/PIA9-Zamboanga Sibugay