Tuberculosis still a health issue in Bicol: DOH

LEGAZPI CITY — Tuberculosis (TB) remains to be a health problem that needs to be addressed in Bicol, as close to 11,000 people were reported to be afflicted with this lung disease last year, the Department of Health (DOH) in the region said.

DOH data indicated that 10,614 TB cases were recorded in 2018 and of this figure, 278 died, according to Dr. Ernie Vera, DOH regional director.

He said the agency is still collating the data reported from various provincial health units in Bicol for the first semester of this year.

Out of 10,514 cases of tuberculosis recorded in Bicol, Camarines Sur has the highest with 3,685; followed by Albay, 2,756 cases; Masbate, 1,537; Sorsogon, 1,278; Camarines Norte, 959, and Catanduanes, 399.

According to the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report, TB is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and it is the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent.

Vera, however, said: “As of June 2019, the treatment success rate for TB in the whole region is 93 percent, and we are hoping and aiming to have a drastic drop in cases of TB and fully prevent death caused by the disease.”

“TB is a curable disease and through combined efforts, we believe that we will be able to accelerate, and sustain TB response,” he added.

In Bicol, among the leading killer diseases are heart ailments, pneumonia, hypertension, tumors, tuberculosis, trauma/injuries, kidney disease, cerebrovascular, diabetes and septicemia.

The WHO report said a total of 1 million Filipinos or 1% of the national population have active TB and many of them do not even know that they are carriers of the disease.

Around 70 Filipinos die daily or 27,000 Filipinos annually from TB, which is supposed to be a highly-curable disease.  Mar Serrano / PNA –