PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Japanese government has provided some P14.2 million ($303,226) in grant contract that would provide assistance to patients living in underprivileged urban areas in Metro Manila who are suffering from tuberculosis.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makoto Katsura and Ms. Maho Suzuki, representing Dr. Eiichi Nakamura, president of the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA), a Japanese NGO, signed a grant contract for the Tuberculosis Control Project in Socio-economically Underprivileged Urban Area in Metro Manila, Philippines “Stop TB para sa Lahat.”
The contract signing marked the appropriation to this project from the “Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects” under Japan’s Official Development Assistance.
Around 440,000 urban low-income residents of Payatas in Quezon City and Tondo, Manila, will benefit from this project.
The Philippines remains to be highly burdened by the tuberculosis (TB) and one of the worst 22 countries hampered by this life-threatening communicable disease.
It also ranks the 4th of high TB incidence in the Western Pacific Region, the WHO said in 2008.
The fight against this disease continues to be a major global health concern.
The Direct Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS) is the core strategy of TB therapy and the Philippines has already acquired the WHO standard for this treatment.
TB prevalence rate, however, continues to be relatively high especially in urban unhygienic or slum areas.
These are attributable to problems such as inaccessibility for health workers to enter these areas, insufficient facilities for TB treatment, discontinued treatment due to frequent relocation of patients, among others.
In the last phase in 2008, the Research Institute for Tuberculosis/ JATA has contributed in the urban unhygienic or slum areas, with the building the network with Philippine NGOs acting in the area.
Through the network, they have shared the information about the patients, have educated the people in the area and have trained the health workers for the area.
This year, it will continue the project that aims to improve TB control through quality assurance of TB DOTS, by training and tracking the patients.
The Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects was launched in 2002 to enhance cooperation between the Government of Japan and NGOs in the implementation of ODA to promote effective and efficient aid for developing countries.
In the Philippines, 18 projects in various sectors worth approximately Php70 million have been funded by this program.