THE Department of Health-Davao Region (DOH-Davao) reported an increasing number of new tuberculosis (TB) patients in the region during the Kapihan sa PIA press conference on Friday morning, August 4.
According to DOH-Davao, recorded TB cases have risen from 16,147 in 2022 to 10,363 in the first half of 2023 alone.
Out of the 10,363 recorded cases, 344 were from Davao Occidental, 1,247 from Davao del Sur, 4,315 from Davao City, 2,209 from Davao del Norte, 1,359 from Davao de Oro, and 889 from Davao Oriental.
Dr. Annabelle Yumang, DOH-Davao Regional Director, underscored that TB can affect individuals of all ages, particularly those in the productive age group.
Common symptoms include persistent cough, significant weight loss, low-grade fever, night sweats, and coughing blood.
DOH advises individuals experiencing these symptoms to seek assistance at nearby health centers to access TB services. The agency said self-medication should be avoided, as it does not cure this bacterial disease.
Yumang noted that separating TB patients from their families is unnecessary and that wearing a mask is sufficient to prevent infection. However, she said isolating patients can lead to mental health issues like depression.
DOH emphasized that once a patient starts treatment and has taken at least two weeks' worth of medication, they are no longer contagious. Therefore, the agency is focused on raising public awareness to eliminate the stigma associated with TB.
The increased number of reported cases is attributed to enhanced case detection through clinical and microbiological diagnostics.
"We need to intensify our case findings, and we will continue to do this. As we improve our case detection, we will also improve our service delivery for TB cases," Yumang said.
DOH-Davao region ensures diagnostic services and extends TB services to rural communities through consultations and free chest X-rays.
She said the government had implemented programs such as intensified health promotion, early detection, and free medicine and treatment.
"Ending TB is a collective effort; it's not solely the Department of Health's responsibility. Health is a shared responsibility," Yumang added.