The Department of Health (DOH) has launched the Philippine Acceleration Action Plan for Tuberculosis (PAAP-TB), a multisectoral initiative to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in the country by 2035. The DOH together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), through the PAAP-TB aims to provide wider access to health services, and improved education and public information, social protection, and labor protection to eradicate TB by 2030.
Tuberculosis is a chronic communicable disease that comes second only to COVID-19 as a leading cause of mortality from a single infectious organism. According to the Global TB Report 2022, the disease accounted for 1.6 million deaths in 2021. In a preliminary report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) this year, TB continues to rank 11th among the causes of death in the Filipino population.
TB elimination entails improving access to TB services, and addressing the social, economic, and physical determinants that significantly affect its occurrence, transmission, and even treatment. “In addressing these social determinants of health, we enjoin all our sectoral stakeholders for synergistic solutions to overcrowding, low education, malnutrition, and ultimately poverty. Our collective interventions will make TB services equitable, especially for the poor,” said Officer-in-Charge Secretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.
The PAAP-TB aims to address the nation’s TB epidemic by re-examining current programs and initiatives of National Coordinating Committee for Tuberculosis (TB-NCC) member organizations. Together, these collaborating sectors will provide an action plan and involve the private sector and organizations to achieve the program’s goals over two medium terms.
Also present at the event were representatives from various sectors committed to eradicating TB in the Philippines, Department of Health Assistant Secretary Beverly Ho, DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., DSWD Assistant Secretary Janet Armas, DOLE Executive Director for the Occupational Safety and Health Center Ma. Teresita Cucueco, and FDA Director IV Jesusa Joyce Cirunay.
“By engaging multiple disciplines, organizations, sectors, and partners can combine strengths and leverage resources, expertise, and knowledge, while addressing the social, environmental, economic, and political systemic drivers that influence behaviors and prevent the effective delivery of health policies and interventions,” said Officer-In-Charge Singh-Vergeire.
The PAAP-TB document has been developed with technical support from the USAID’s TB Innovations and Health Systems Strengthening Project implemented by FHI 360.