GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 Sept) – The Department of Health (DOH) is working for the establishment of a regional treatment center for tuberculosis in Koronadal City to help effectively address the growing cases of the disease in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao.
Heidi Florentin, TB program coordinator of South Cotabato, said the DOH and partner agencies National Lung Center and the Philippine Business for Social Progress have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with local government officials for the construction of a TB Multi-Drug Resistant or MDR Center for the region.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Based on the agreement, she said the facility would be put up beside the City Health Office compound along Alunan Avenue in Koronadal City.
As counterpart for the project, Florentin said the city government of Koronadal will provide five medical staff to manage the treatment center, which would be absorbed by the local government after five years.
“The facility will mainly offer MDR treatment for TB patients in the region at much lesser costs,” she said.
Florentin said that although the treatment is free, transportation expenses are not subsidized for the target beneficiaries.
The treatment for multi-drug resistant TB patients has been more costly when compared to plain TB.
The National Lung Center has noted increasing multi-drug resistant TB patients in the country that it could no longer cope with the demand for treatment.
Patients would often flock to Metro Manila to get the necessary treatment but the National Lung Center could only accommodate a minimal number.
The DOH has been advising suspected TB patients or those who experience more than two weeks of cough to visit the nearest health centers in their areas for sputum check-ups.
Florentin cited that the treatment for TB is being offered free and what is only needed is the willingness of the patients to undergo proper examination and get the required treatment if they would be found positive with the disease.
“With all these efforts being undertaken by the DOH, our TB patients are assured of getting the proper treatments,” she said. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)