Sarangani reorganizes TB board in bid to control spread of disease

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 June) – In a bid to enhance its efforts to control the spread of tuberculosis (TB), the provincial government of Sarangani has reorganized the area’s TB Program Board.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said in a statement that such move is part of the local government’s intensified efforts to eradicate the cases of TB in the province’s seven municipalities within the next few years.

The reconstitution of the Provincial TB Program Board, which was provided for in Executive Order 27, series of 2014 issued by the governor, is also in support to the Department of Health’s (DOH) National TB Program.

The board, which is mainly tasked to formulate strategies and oversee the program’s implementation, is chaired by the governor.

Solon said the province’s reorganized TB board comprises representatives from local stakeholders, specifically government agencies, civil society groups and the private sector.

He said they linked up with more local stakeholders to ensure proper cooperation in the efforts to eradicate TB in the area.

In 2013, the province posted a case detection rate of 59 percent and a cure rate of 70 percent for TB, a report released by the Sarangani Health Office showed.

It said such figures are considered low based on the 85 percent case detection rate and 90 percent cure rate targets set by DOH-Region 12.

Dr. Arvin Alejandro, Sarangani provincial health officer, said it only shows that patient tracking in terms of TB in the province is very poor at the barangay level.

“We should focus more on tracking down more symptomatic patients at the barangay level and at the same time ensure that they are properly treated,” he said.

Solon is hoping that the reorganization of the province’s TB board will provide the needed push for the program, especially at the barangay level.

“We need to capacitate the people in our barangays to monitor not only TB but other diseases also,” he said.

He cited barangay health workers (BHW) are at the frontlines of the campaign and the key factors in terms of ensuring its sustenance.

To encourage the province’s 1,000 BHWs to perform better, Solon said they have set aside around P6 million for their additional honorarium this year.

Starting July, he said each BHW in the province will be receiving an additional honorarium of P500 a month.