TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, (PIA) – Persons with tuberculosis can now avail of free services and medicines from TB DOTS facilities in the Province of Leyte.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Ma. Teresa Caidic gave this assurance during a Forum on Synergizing Efforts to Combat TB for Leyte at Hotel Alejandro, this city.

Caidic said, although there is only one TB DOTS providing hospital in Leyte which is Leyte Provincial Hospital, all other hospitals are considered TB referring hospitals which can also serve TB patients. Likewise, rural health units (RHUs) in the province may also offer treatment and services to TB patients.

In 2012, TB was not included in the top ten mortality but included in the top ten causes of morbidity. However, in 2013, it ranked number 9 of the causes of morbidity and number 6 as the causes of death in Leyte.

Hence, health workers expressed fear for the lives of many TB patients especially children who belong to undetected cases which are not even enrolled in TB DOTS facilities.

It was learned that 70 percent of untreated TB patients will die in five years. Thus, Caidic is urging the public to consult a doctor when suffering a cough for two weeks or more.

In response to this, the Provincial Government of Leyte through the Provincial Health Office forged partnership with other government agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector through a covenant signing during the forum.

The signatories came from various government and private agencies which signify their commitment of support to control tuberculosis in Leyte.

In such activity, Dr. Caidic emphasized the importance of effective collaboration between the public and private sector in implementing various TB control interventions as the success of the program rests not only on the health sector but everybody’s concern.

Likewise, the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) will be strengthened in collaboration with the Innovations and Multi-Sectoral Partnership to achieve control of Tuberculosis (IMPACT) Project of the Philippine Business and Social Progress (PSP-USAID) that will provide a 5-year technical assistance to the other 17 regions will be implemented until September 2017.

Leyte aimed at attaining the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) where TB is no longer one of the top ten leading causes of mortality and morbidity.

“90 percent of those with tuberculosis should start treatment and 90 percent of those who started their treatment should finish the treatment and get cured, “Caidic added.

Today, TB is a second leading cause of deaths from an infectious disease worldwide.(PIA-8)