Pangasinan gets P14M from USAid to fight TB
GABRIEL L. CARDINOZA
The Manila Times
To reduce the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) in Pangasinan, the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) is giving a $250,000 (P14.2 million) grant to the province for the TB Implementation Framework Agreement (TIFA) project. “We are very blessed that the province of Pangasinan will be one of the recipients of the $250,000 grant from the USAid for the TIFA project,” said Board Member Shiela Baniqued, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) committee on health. “This project will help reduce the prevalence of TB health problems in Pangasinan,” she stressed. According to Provincial Health Officer 1 Dr. Cielo Almoite, the case detection rate for TB in 2022 in Pangasinan is 78.95 percent. She said that based on the annual reports from the different TB facilities in the province, the TB case notification rate is 440.42 percent, while the TB treatment success rate is 96.59 percent. “The 96.59 percent does include those who died. The others are those lost to follow up, we don’t know what happened,” Almoite said. She also assured SP members that at present, TB drugs are still available for free in all of the province’s TB DOTs (Directly Observed Treatment Short course) facilities, rural health units, and some hospitals accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) as TB DOTS facilities. “The [TIFA] project is primarily for active case finding through chest X-ray, so we have our two functional mobile chest X-rays that will be going around the different identified priority LGUs (local government units) to conduct chest X-rays,” Almoite said. “We will be doing about 120 to 140 chest X-rays a day. The two mobile xrays can cover the target,” she added. She said that those with positive results will be referred to GeneXpert facilities in the province’s district hospitals for confirmatory tests. During the session, the SP unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Gov. Ramon Guico 3rd to enter into a five-year cooperative agreement with the JSI Research and Training Institute Inc. (JSI) for the adoption of the TIFA project. JSI is a global consulting organization tasked to implement USAid-funded TIFA projects. TIFA is a key component of the USAid Global Accelerator to end TB, which aims to increase commitment from governments, civil society, and the private sector to accelerate countries’ progress in reaching the global targets. The Accelerator focuses on countries with high burdens of TB where the USAid can align with local communities and partners to deliver results, according to the USAid website. According to the Department of Health, the Philippines is the fourth largest contributor of TB cases at 7 percent of the global total. For every 100,000 Filipinos, an estimated 650 individuals were infected with TB in 2021, a huge difference from 554 per 100,000 in 2020. Under the agreement, the Provincial Health Office will take charge of the supervision of the schedule of activities to be undertaken in the project.