BAGUIO CITY – Health authorities reported decreasing tuberculosis cases but not as fast as they were projected towards achieving a tuberculosis free global village by 2035.
Dr. Alexie Marrero, head of the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), said individuals seeking medical attention for tuberculosis is increasing but the overall actual number of cases is decreasing but not in accordance to the rate that they have projected in order to achieve the goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the world to be free of tuberculosis.
“Tuberculosis cases are decreasing but not in accordance to the pace that we have projected. We call on individuals suffering from one to two weeks of continuous cough to immediately seek medical attention because TB is curable,” Marrero stressed.
Clint Gil Ildefonso, TB and leprosy program coordinator of the DOH-CAR, said that the health department provided the medication of 1,980 tuberculosis patients by the first semester of this year compared to the 3,594 cases by the end of last year.
According to him, one of the problems that health authorities encounter is discontinuation of medication by patients due to felt side-effects, and this does not cure the illness but instead allows them to contaminate other individuals.
Ildefonso reported there is a 90-percent success rate in the treatment of tuberculosis patients who have completed the 6-month medication cycle which is why health officials are encouraging possible TB suspects not to hesitate in seeking medical attention from the nearest health facility because the medicines for tuberculosis from the health department are free.
He advised people suffering from continuous cough not to self-medicate because it might worsen their condition but instead to seek early medical consultation with health experts from the nearest health facilities for proper treatment.
Health authorities are optimistic that more people having tuberculosis will voluntarily visit the nearest health facilities in their respective places to get the necessary free medication to prevent their illness from worsening until the final stages.
It was learned of the 1,980 tuberculosis cases recorded in the region, 327 cases were said to be from Baguio City alone while the rest of the cases came from the different provinces of the Cordillera.
He said tuberculosis could be transmitted through interaction with an infected individual that is why people with weak resistance must make sure that they will not get in contact with a tuberculosis patient to avoid contracting the illness and spreading it to their families.
By Dexter A. See