16th PhilCAT Convention sparks unity among healthcare providers
TB Advocates from all over the country were stirred by an overwhelming power of oneness to control tuberculosis during the 16th Annual PhilCAT Convention held at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila in Quezon City last August 13-14, 2009.
With the theme, “Synergy in TB Care: A Holistic Approach”, the Convention brought together health providers, policymakers, community leaders and other TB control supporters from all sectors to finally beat TB by enriching their knowledge in rendering top-notched care to TB patients.
PhilCAT National Chair Dr. Elizabeth V. Cadena of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (PTSI) welcomed the staunch advocates to the gathering, inviting everyone to the common goal of eradicating TB in the country. Meanwhile, Convention Overall Chair Dr. Luz P. Revita of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (co-organizer of PhilCAT in the convention) provided a glimpse of the plethora of learnings that participants can look forward to in the various lectures and symposia. Both invited the delegates to make the most out of the convention for them to deliver better quality care to TB patients.
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary David J. Lozada, Jr. graced the opening ceremonies with his keynote address, where he underscored the DOH’s unwavering commitment to implement the national TB control program (NTP). With pride, he shared that Philippines is one of the few countries that achieved case detection rate of 70% and Treatment Success Rate of 85%, pursuant to the overall DOTS program goals. With optimism, he believes that “TB-free” Philippines will soon become a reality however; complacency doesn’t have a place in the midst of new challenges like MDR-TB and the need to reach the untapped vulnerable groups.
He lauded PhilCAT for being DOH’s committed partner. He emphasized that synergy among TB advocates will triumph against TB, it being a social problem that needs to be addressed from a broader perspective. He invited everyone to work hand in hand and do whatever they can to surmount challenges. He assured that the DOH is at the forefront of stopping TB. “Kaya Mo, Kaya Ko”, were his parting words.
Convention exhibits were formally opened thereafter, through a ribbon cutting spearheaded by the guests of honor. Local and multinational pharmaceutical companies participated in the exhibit, where they provided product samples and gift items for the delegates; and sponsored some luncheon symposia.
Dr. Yolanda E. Oliveros, Director IV of DOH’s National Center for Disease Prevention and Control kicked-off the series of plenary sessions with her lecture on “NTP directions towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”. She drew the NTP efforts in the country, including some updates on the various strategies/activities within the NTP to sustain quality DOTS implementation and achieve the program targets of Case Detection Rate at 70% and Treatment Success Rate at 85%. She posited that the future direction in addressing the TB problem is strategically captured in the ongoing development of the Philippine Plan of Action to Control TB (Phil_PACT) 2010-2015, which is synchronized with the Health Sector Reform Agenda (HSRA) or the FOURmula One (F1) for Health.
A significant question raised after Dr. Oliveros’s presentation was the availability of TB drug supply. She assured everyone that there is sufficient drug supply until 2010, and the delivery for previous shortages will be completed by October 2009.
Dr. Noboyuki Nikishiori, Regional Stop TB Advisor of the World Health Organization-Western Pacific Region seconded Dr. Oliveros’s presentation and dwelt on the global updates and how the international scenario of TB control has been adopted accordingly by the Philippines. He recommended for the NTP to improve still in CDR, since reaching 70% and beyond is highly advised in order to reach MDG by 2015. He suggested that to move closer to this target requires directing attention to the establishment of more high-level or tertiary hospitals.
A series of lectures and luncheon symposia given by highly-acclaimed authorities in medicine followed suit the following day, featuring new approaches in various aspects of managing TB, supervising TB in different settings, diagnostic pitfalls, updates in disease management, improving Direct Sputum Smear Microscopy, MDR-TB diagnosis, and inappropriate use of antibiotics and vaccines, among others. All these lectures helped synergize the management of TB in the country and ensure the provision of holistic care to TB patients. The result: A country free from the bondage of tuberculosis.