Tuberculosis remains one of the top causes of mortality in the Philippines. One reason behind this is the lack of knowledge regarding the need for proper treatment when infected with TB.

This is now the primary mission of three task force groups in the town of Jose Panganiban, province of Camarines Sur, where TB infection remains prevalent. The task forces are made up of barangay (village) health workers, frontliners in rural public health service. 

According to Lana Cristina Salma-Fuentes, coordinator for the National Tuberculosis Control Program under the Department of Health, the iniative is meant to stop more cases of the infection by advocating for proper treatment.

The project, undertaken by the DOH, in coordination with the local government of Jose Panganiban, was also assisted by World Vision, a non-government organization.

Last March, the Health department set a deadline to eradicate TB in the country by 2035 as it observed World Tuberculosis Day.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial explained, "When you say TB elimination, it means to really detect all TB cases and attain a prevalence rate of less than 10 per 100,000. From a really prevalent disease, it becomes a rare disease."

As of 2016, the National TB Program has detected 294,907 cases and all of which started treatment. Treatment has a success rate of 90 percent.

The department also announced the implementation of the 2017-2022 Philippine Strategic TB Elimination Plan 1 or the PhilSTEP 1, as well as the creation of Philippine TB Caucus, which is tasked with formulating policies/issuances to increase TV control investments.

According to a 2016 Philippine Health statistics, tuberculosis remains to be the 8th leading cause of illness and death.

Worldwide, about 8.6 million people suffered from TB, 1.3 million of whom have died.

The Tuberculosis Control Program is a long-standing public health programme managed by the DOH, Infectious Diseases for Prevention and Control Division of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau.

The Program hopes to develop policies, standards, manage programme logistics, provide leadership and technical assistance, manage data and conduct monitoring and evaluation. MIMS

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