Manila Standard Today (04.15.13)
Aids Weekly Plus
Caltex, an oil company in the Philippines, and other Pacific countries have joined the fight against TB. The “Caltex Labanan and TB, para Tsuper Healthy” TB awareness campaign has educated more than 10,000 jeepney and bus drivers in metropolitan Manila. Approximately 52 public transport drivers were trained by Quezon City Health Department (QCHD) as volunteer TB treatment partners. The training qualified the drivers to teach colleagues about TB, dispel myths about the disease, and encourage others to seek early medical assistance to help stop TB transmission.
The campaign was piloted in Makati and Manila, where approximately 5,000 jeepney drivers and their families were enrolled. In QC, Caltex also partnered with bus companies that endorsed the campaign to their employees as part of their occupational safety program ordered by the Department of Labor. A number of bus companies also show the TB awareness video on buses. To further extend the reach of the campaign, Caltex uses a TB awareness bus for trainers to hold onboard seminars and distribute posters, flyers, and stickers as well as promote the Caltex TB helpline. The seminars focus on correcting common misconceptions and emphasizing prevention, early detection, and cure.
Before the awareness drive, Chevron, which owns Caltex, had donated $5 million to fight TB in the Philippines. This was used to educate approximately 8,175 service deliverers in providing quality TB services. More than 6,144 health care providers were trained in community care, and approximately 1,778 patients who were not responding to first line anti-TB drugs, received treatment for multidrug-resistant TB.
TB kills 75 Filipinos a day and is the sixth leading deadly disease in the country. The Philippines rank 22nd among countries with the highest number of TB cases in the world and is second only to China in the Western Pacific region. Dr. Antonieta V. Inumerable, head of QCHD, welcomed the support and efforts of Caltex to eliminate TB in the country. She noted that Quezon City has a large population served by public transport workers so that improving the driver’s health also protects the passengers from TB.