Albay adopts multi-sectoral approach vs TB, HIV

By Mike de la Rama and Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Sept.24 (PNA) — The Provincial Government of Albay has created a multi-sectoral alliance to stop the spread of tuberculosis and human immuno virus (HIV).

As first step, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay approved on Tuesday an ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Creating and Constituting the Albay Tuberculosis (TB) Program Provincial Multi-Sectoral Alliance (PMSA) to Unify Efforts Towards Improving TB Case Finding and Case Detection in the Province, and Appropriating Funds Thereof” in the hope of alleviating the rising number of TB sufferers in the Province of Albay and prevent the rise of such cases.

In the ordinance authored by Board Member Herbert S. Borja, committee on health chair, it is stated that tuberculosis remains a major public health problem where the Philippines ranks ninth among the 22 high burden countries, and that TB is the sixth leading cause of mortality in the country with 26,588 deaths and mortality rate of 31.2 per 100,000 population.

As such, Borja noted in the ordinance that the persistence of TB requires a renewed call for increased efforts to control such disease, hence, the creation of the PMSA.

The ordinance also states that the PMSA will serve as the coordinating body for public-private sector partnerships and advise the provincial government on the implementation of the policies and strategies, civil society groups and private sector.

The main roles, functions of the PMSA involves: 1) To identify and establish the roles and responsibilities of the partners and program of the partners in the organization and delivery of TB care as per National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) guidelines; 2) To coordinate the different sectors involved in the NTP implementation and ensure that the NTP policies and the Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) strategy are implemented, thereby ensuring a case detection rate of at least 90 percent and a treatment success rate of 90 percent, and; 3) To ensure that efforts and resources are generated and geared towards achieving the goal of having a community where TB is no longer a public health problem.

Heading the PMSA will be the governor or his duly authorized representative, while a core team from the Provincial Health Office shall serve as the secretariat.

The recommendation of the Albay AIDS Council is a collaborative approach to TB and HIV prevention and control.

Included in the lined advocacy program for implementation is the establishment and strengthening of the mechanisms for delivering integrated TB and HIV services; setting up and strengthening a coordinating body for collaborative TB/HIV activities functional at all levels; determining HIV prevalence among TB patients and TB prevalence among people living with HIV; carrying out joint TB/HIV planning to integrate the delivery of TB and HIV services; monitoring and evaluating collaborative TB/HIV activities; and reducing the burden of TB in people living with HIV and initiate early antiretroviral therapy (the Three I’s for HIV/TB).

The Department of Health Bicol regional office region strongly believes that partnership between national government agencies and local government units is important to intensify TB case-finding and ensure high quality antituberculosis treatment.

To reduce the burden of HIV in patients with presumptive and diagnosed TB, the Albay AIDS Council also suggests to provide HIV testing and counseling to patients with presumptive and diagnosed TB, provide co-trimoxazole preventive therapy for TB patients living with HIV, ensure HIV prevention interventions, treatment and care for TB patients living with HIV and provide antiretroviral therapy for TB patients living with HIV.

One of the functions of the TB-HIV Collaborative Committee is to formulate guidelines on the establishment of cross referral mechanism between NTP and NASPCP to provide access for TB-HIV services. (PNA)