DOH-Davao Region records 4,000 cases in Q1 2024

Medication stock shortage raises concerns
DOH-Davao Region records 4,000 cases in Q1 2024
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THE Department of Health-Davao Region (DOH-Davao) revealed that there were approximately 4,000 cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in the region between January and March 2024. 

Evelyn Uy-Gelito, head of the national TB program under DOH-Davao, disclosed this during the Kapehan sa Davao on Monday morning, May 20, 2024, at The Annex of SM City Davao.

Gelito noted a shift from previous trends, with an equal number of male and female patients. She emphasized that TB can affect anyone regardless of age but observed a higher susceptibility among individuals in the working class, aged 15 to 35.

Compared to the previous year, there has been an increase of about 1,000 to 1,500 cases, attributed to intensified case-finding efforts and increased awareness leading to more people seeking medication. 

Despite ranking 13th or 14th nationally in TB cases, she said that the 4,000 cases in Davao Region are relatively low compared to other regions.

To combat the rise in TB cases, the DOH-Davao has been implementing active case-finding programs, including chest X-ray screenings at the barangay level. 

However, Gelito expressed concern over the lack of medication stock for Drug-Sensitive Tuberculosis (DS-TB). 

Although the regional office allocated P3 million for medication, stocks have been depleted, with the central office set to deliver drugs by June 2024.

“As of now at the regional level, zero ta as of today, wala na tay stock kasi nakadawat ta two, three weeks ago pero gi-allocate na natu sa mga provinces (As of now, at the regional level, we currently have zero stocks because although we received medication two to three weeks ago, it was already allocated to the provinces),” she said.

Patients purchasing their medication for DS-TB can expect costs between P3,000 to P5,000, significantly less than medication for Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB), which can cost three times more.

Dr. Hansel Amoguis, head of the infectious diseases cluster of DOH-Davao, underscored efforts to locate individuals in households who have had contact with TB patients to prevent further spread.

Gelito added that individuals with TB now have access to shorter treatment regimens. 

In 2023, the DOH introduced a scheme offering a four-month therapy for regular drug-susceptible TB cases, significantly reducing the previous nine to 12-month treatment period. However, individuals with drug-resistant tuberculosis still require a six-month treatment.

She emphasized the DOH's program goals: to eliminate mortality cases of TB in the Philippines by 2028 and to reduce TB incidence to one case per one million population by 2030. RGP

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