The 14th PhilCAT Annual Convention
QUALITY CARE IN TB: GOING FOR THE WIN IN 2015
The 14th Annual Convention of the Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT) opened on August 16, 2007 to tackle current trends and issues of tuberculosis (TB) in the country. This year’s theme, “Quality Care in TB: Going for the Win in 2015,” highlights pursuing quality TB care especially in special populations such as TB in children, multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) and TB-HIV/AIDS co-infection, TB in prison, and TB in special conditions like such as liver disease, diabetes and renal transplantation. MDR-TB is a strain of TB that is difficult to cure because it does not respond anymore to the ordinary first-line medicines. XDR TB is a worse strain which has even fewer options for treatment than MDR TB. The convention also discussed updates on new tools against TB such as new diagnostics and drugs that are in the pipeline. The International Standards of TB Care and the Patients’ Charter which talks about patients’ rights and responsibilities were also presented in the convention.
PhilCAT is a broad-based coalition of 67 organizations committed to prevent, control and eliminate tuberculosis through advocacy, policy development and project management in close collaboration with the National TB Control Program (NTP) of the Department of Health. It also works with the World Health Organization, and other local and international health organizations to achieve its vision of a TB-free . The 14th Annual PhilCAT Convention was jointly organized with the Tropical Disease Foundation which served as Chair of the Scientific Committee. Both organizations believe that with an understanding of TB, the dreaded disease and its threats, members will become better advocates, better health providers, better implementers and better policy-makers.
Dr. Melvin Q. Magno from the World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. (WVDFI), was this year’s Overall Chair for the convention. WVDFI is a partner of the NTP which focuses on social mobilization to increase community awareness and participation in TB control efforts.
Dr. Ma. Imelda D. Quelapio, Chair of PhilCAT, called for more effective TB control and prevention measures through partnerships, patients’ empowerment and expanding network for TB control, as well as awareness and knowledge on the emerging issues that pose a threat to the success of TB control in the country. She expressed that as difficult TB cases are coming forward, we all the more need more formidable partnerships as we work together in this crusade against TB.
Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto in behalf of Health Secretary Duque expressed the government’s renewed commitment to the fight against TB. As a manifestation of support by the government to curb the disease, 280 million pesos will be invested next year for TB control of which 20 million will go to drugs for TB in children.
World Health Organization (WHO) Medical Country Officer Michael Voniatis acknowledged the success of the National TB Program which has achieved 75% case detection rate and 87% success rate in 2005, putting the Philippines among the 26 of 199 countries that have met and even exceeded the global targets for TB. Among the speakers and guest that graced the event include Pieter Van Maaren and Philippe Glaziou of World Health Organization.