Manila residents afflicted with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) conditions can now turn to Ospital ng Tondo, as the city-run hospital opened its COPD programme.

“COPD is fatal, especially if left undetected and untreated, so I opted to put up a specialized service at the Ospital ng Tondo to provide free and quality treatment to poor Manilenos,” Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada was quoted by the Manila Standard.

Mayor Estrada noted that the opening of the new service is timely as the COPD rate in the country remains high. He himself was previously hospitalized due to asthma.

COPD conditions refer to chronic lung diseases that cause limitation in airflow, its most common symptom being breathlessness.  Major risk factors for COPD remain tobacco smoking, indoor and outdoor pollution and occupational dust and chemicals.

According to the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), COPD is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, with high probability of under-detection.

The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) noted that about 14 percent of residents living in Metro Manila might have this pulmonary condition.

For the new lung programme, Mayor Estrada directed hospital director Dr Isaias Cando Jr, to oversee the services.

“COPD commonly affects senior citizens because of the age factor, their lowered immune system, and being exposed to unfriendly environment like congested community, and afflicted people who do not get treatment because they do not consult,” according to Dr Cando.

In the hospital, majority of the cases they treat for COPD are aged 50 to 90, who mostly have “community-acquired” pneumonia.

The city government will also procure pneumococcal vaccine. Dr Cando urged young and older people to take the free vaccine, which is good for three to five years.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there could be 64 million people with COPD - which could become the third leading cause of death by 2030. MIMS

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