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Free x-ray for suspected TB patients

By: Futch Anthony Inso August 14,2018 - 09:00 PM

DOH-7 OBSERVES LUNG MONTH

As the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) observes the celebration of National Lung Month in August; the agency will be offering free chest x-ray services to suspected tuberculosis (TB) patients in the region through a voucher program.

Carlo Wyne Brillantes, nurse III of DOH-7, said that each voucher is worth P400 to P500 that can be used on x-ray procedures through its accredited private hospitals.

“We already started distributing the vouchers but probably, the program would be fully implemented next week,” Brillantes said, adding that the vouchers are distributed to the different TB-Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) centers and rural health units in the different local government units (LGUs) in the region.

Accredited private hospitals and institutions include High Precision Diagnostics, Chong Hua Hospital, Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, Mendero Medical Center in Consolacion town, Vicente Mendiola Center for Health in Naga City, and other private diagnostic centers in Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City.

All provincial hospitals and several district hospitals in Cebu are also accredited partners of DOH-7 after they’ve signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA).

Brillantes said that the department is producing around 8,500 vouchers for this year, adding this is the first time that the program was implemented.

“The allocation of vouchers would depend on the population and land area of a certain LGU. DOH-7 will be paying the hospitals that rendered their service to a beneficiary of the program,” he added.

Based on their records, Central Visayas has around 20,046 cases of TB in 2017, while in the first half of 2018 it already reached up to 10,850 cases. The DOH-7 is targeting around 43,275 reported cases of TB for this year.

In the province of Cebu, 3,899 cases of TB have already been reported in the first half of 2018, much higher compared to 3,667 cases last year.

“The trend in TB cases in the region is increasing per year, compared to other regions that are already declining. But on the positive note, maybe it’s increasing because many people are already aware of our programs against the disease,” he said.

The department is also partnering with academic institutions to educate the public about the disease and to stop discrimination and stigma associated with TB.

According to Brillantes, based on the National TB prevalent survey that was conducted in 2016 that was participated by 46,000 respondents, only 19 percent of them underwent consultation at the health centers, 41 percent conducted self-medication while 40 percent experienced symptoms of TB but did not seek consultation and medication.

“So many of us are still afraid or ashamed to admit or inform anybody that they have TB because of discrimination. This is because the public are misinformed,” Brillantes added.

Brillantes said that patients with TB should not be ashamed, since the disease is curable and can be treated while medicines are given for free by the government.

Free TB medicines are available at TB-DOTS centers, Health Centers and Rural Health Units and also in private hospitals such as Visayas Community Medical Center (VCMC), Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, Mendero Medical Center in Consolacion town and South General Hospital in Naga City.

Aside from this, the government is also providing free sputum diagnostic to TB patients in public health centers.

Symptoms of TB include coughing, low grade fever, weight loss, and back pain, loss of appetite, sweating and cough with blood.

Brillantes is urging the public to seek early consultation if ever they’ve encountered these symptoms.

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TAGS: free, patients, suspected, TB, X-ray

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