Manila Bulletin (12.03.2013)
The Manila Bulletin reported on a bill recently introduced into the Philippines House of Representatives that would allow for free hospitalization and treatment of TB patients throughout the country. The bill, “Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2013,” aims at eliminating the disease from the island country by giving free treatment to all residents who are covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Representative Angelina Helen Tan, who introduced the bill, said that 73 Filipinos die every day from TB, making it the country’s sixth leading cause of death. She added that the health plan currently covered new TB cases, but not cases that have relapsed or not completed treatment successfully. Tan said this plan will allow the country’s objective to reduce TB mortality to succeed.
“TB disease is highly contagious as each person with active TB can spread the disease to 10 other Filipinos each year. The disease is an infection caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis that can be passed on to another person through tiny droplets spread by coughing and sneezing,” said Tan, who is the vice chairperson of the House committees on social services, and labor and employment. She maintains that government efforts to better diagnose the disease are not working due to widespread poverty and social factors.