Preventing TB among Filipino children

By KC Santos,

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Unknown to many Filipinos, tuberculosis or TB also affects children.

The Department of Health (DoH) is intensifying its campaign against TB by also raising awareness and prevention of the disease on children.

TB is the sixth leading cause of death in the country, killing 98 Filipinos each day. In the watch list of the World Health Organization, the Philippines ranks ninth among 22 countries burdened with this disease.

The Philippine Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT) recently gathered parents and their children at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Hospital for an  interactive briefing.

It was part of Health department's Philippine Plan of Action to Control Tuberculosis 2010 to 2016 that aims to prevent and reduce cases of TB among chikdren.

The World Vision Development Foundation Inc. (WVDFI) and Holistic Community Development and Initiatives Inc.,(HCDI) is also deploying personnel in various communities to conduct similar briefings on TB.

According to PhilCat chair Dr. Vincent Balanag, Jr., the problem with TB cases among children is the fact that its diagnosis is not fully incorporated with the National Tuberculosis Program of the DoH, resulting to a limited coverage for TB prevention and patient treatment.

Apart from limited resources, knowledge of the guidelines for detecting the presence of TB among children is still limited.

Balanag said that in diagnosis of TB in children, the bacteriological sputum test - the most accessible and commonly used for detecting TB in adults - does not guarantee a TB negative patient. In fact, sputum negative patients can still harbor the infectious disease.

Presently, the DoH and other pediatric societies rely on clinical presentation, X-rays, tuberculin skin tests and the newest diagnostic method called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for diagnosis of young patients.

Balanag adds that unlike the previous diagnostic methods that produce results from 24 hours to 6 to 8 weeks, the PCR produces the result in just two hours, which enables the doctors to counter the disease at its early stages and prevent it from being spread.

The only drawback with this new method is the price. The PCR test alone costs P10,000 and the diagnosis kits have to be housed in laboratories when ideally it  should be spread across regions.

In urban poor areas of Tondo and Quezon City, slight improvements in services have been implemented with the help of the Research Institute of Tuberculosis and the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (RIT-JATA).

The current BCG vaccination which should be administered to infants don't have long-term efficacy therefore parents should make themselves aware of the symptoms of TB as this manifests differently and indirectly with children.

“Filipinos should recognize that TB affects all ages especially children. In fact, children are considered the high risk group,” Balanag said.

*** is a website owned and operated by Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. It works under the principle of giving voice to the voiceless, empowering Filipinos and uplifting the image of the Philippines by highlighting its unique culture. To do this, the team produces stories, video, photos and other multimedia content types to inspire and celebrate Filipino achievements, ideas, products and places.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • North Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    North Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two missiles into the sea on Monday and vowed "merciless" retaliation as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre rattling. "And if there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the North …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options