CHO: TB cases drop but smoke-related illnesses soar PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 13:41

by SheIla Covarrubias


Due to continuous efforts of health agencies and the multi-sectoral group Zamboanga Hermosa TB Council, tuberculosis cases dropped from 6th to 10th leading cause of death in the last four years.

However, City Health Officer Rodel Agbulos said smoking related illnesses remain high with heart diseases and stroke ranking first and second respectively in the list of leading causes of death in the city. Cancer, another smoking-related disease is the 4th in the list.

“With this we aim to protect the populace from harmful effects of smoking through awareness campaigns and through the creation of Ordinance 413 or the law regulating smoking in the city, we aim to provide a “smoke free city” to protect the people from the ill-effects of second-hand smoke, “ Dr. Agbulos in his message during the launching of the Lung Month celebration in Zamboanga Monday.

The Lung Month celebration themed “Stop TB: Hanapin, Gamutin. Pagalingin” focuses on public awareness on the respiratory system and the illnesses of the lungs and other affected organs and aims halting tuberculosis in the country through early detection and treatment.

Worldwide, Agbulos said, TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2013, 9 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low-and middle income countries and is among the top 5 causes of death for women aged 15-44.

In the country, TB continues to be a public health concern ranking 6th in the leading causes of deaths nationwide with a rate of 26.3 per 100,000 Filipinos in 2010. In Zamboanga City, TB also ranked as the 6th leading cause of death in 2010 but with the continuous efforts of the Hermosa TB Council, the cases declined to 10th leading cause of death in 2014.

“We continue to reach and even surpass the National Case detection and cure rate targets of 90%”, Agbulos said.

The Lung Month celebration in the city will include various activities such as health education activities on TB and smoking in the 16 health districts and inter-high school quiz bee competition held Monday. The culminating program will include TB caravan motorcade starting at the CHO and end with a program at the Talon-talon National High school on August 26 at 8am and a  jingle competition on TB.

Agbulos thanked Mayor Beng Climaco, the Department of Health   headed by Dr. Aris Tan, the Rotary Club of Zamboanga, Zamboanga City Medical Center, PBSP and other NGOs, the media, education and religious sectors of the Hermosa TB Council, CHO personnel and TB Task Force and Barangay Health workers for helping realize anti-TB programs.  — Sheila Covarrubias