TB remains a health threat in Basilan – ZamboTimes

by Symptom Advice on April 23, 2012

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan — Tuberculosis or TB remains to be a health threat in Basilan and urged the public to be aware of the disease, according to local health authorities here.

In separate radio interview over DXNO-FM Radyo Komunidad radio station in Isabela City, both representatives of the Department of Health (DOH-Rep) and the Provincial Health Office (PHO) agree that TB detection cases in the province is high and to some degree alarming.

PHO’s National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) provincial coordinator Cathy V. Mutamad reveals that based on its 2011 NTP Annual Accomplishment Report, Basilan has a case detection rate (CDR) of 67.2 percent and a cure rate (CR) of 57.2 percent.

“many of our constituents are not very much aware of the disease and could not really appreciate what this disease is. that is why we are doing our best to increase this awareness among our people, especially in the rural areas,” Mutamad said.

She said that health departments here are intensifying its information campaign in the communities through case detection surveys and community pulung-pulong. She added that discussion like this in radio programs could heighten the awareness level of the people.

Oliver Divinigracia of DOH-Rep said that in spite of existing treatment for TB, it still remains to be one of the top five diseases in Basilan.

“everyone is vulnerable,” he said, since the disease is highly contagious, especially in the absence of first treatment, as the bacteria could survive in the air for quite some time.

Marida Perez, Infectious Disease Cluster Head Nurse provincial coordinator explained that tuberculosis is a disease caused by tubercle bacilli that most commonly affects the lungs in more than 80 percent of the clients. It is known as Pulmonary Tuberculosis (PTB). She said that people can be infected when living or in close contact with a patient who has an active PTB.

She added there is another type of tuberculosis that affects the lymph nodes, bones, joints, genito-urinary tract, meninges, intestines, and other parts of the body other than the lungs and it is considered as Extra-Pulmonary Tuberculosis (EP).

DOH-Rep MedTech Musa Abubakar, meanwhile has appealed to the public for cooperation. he urged the public to help the local health personnel in detecting cases of TB by reporting or submitting themselves for case detection.

Speaking in Yakan dialect, Abubakar urged people with symptoms of the disease, chronic cough for example, to visit community health centers as health personnel are trained to handle such cases.

“Ang TB ay nagagamot, kaya hindi dapat katakutan (TB is curable and one should not be afraid of it.),” Abubakar stressed, saying that negative attitude towards people with TB are still persistent in the communities. “because people do not understand the disease,” he added.

However, health officials bank on the role of the community and the family members of TB patients in battling with the disease. “Having a cure is not enough. the care and concern of the community and the dedication of family members is our key to successfully stop the spread of the disease and eventually eradicate them,” Mutamad said.

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