PBSP supports TB control in BARMM
PBSP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Reynaldo Antonio D. Laguda recognizes the efforts of healthcare providers who work hard to implement the TB program in the BARMM region, during the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Ministry of Health at the MOH-BARMM office in Cotabato City.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) reaffirmed its partnership to strengthen the implementation of the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP).

PBSP and MOH-BARMM recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that enables them to continue to work together to support the Department of Health (DOH- NTP) in the execution of the Philippine Strategic TB Elimination Plan.

WORKING TO END TB PBSP has been supporting the MOH-BARMM through the provision of laboratory supplies and equipment, the hiring and deployment of competent medical and non-medical staff; and the conduct of regular monitoring and random on-site verification and validation of both programmatic and financial reports.

The organization also provides technical and funding support in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT), TB-HIV and TB Community TB Care and Prevention (TBCP) activities, and gives feedback and recommendations based on the results of these activities.

The MOH-BARMM, on the other hand, performs services as a Regional NTP Manager, a PMDT Treatment Facility, an Xpert Site, a TB Culture Center, an HIV Treatment Hub and an Administrative and Finance Overseer. It also ensures the continuous implementation of the TB Program and safeguards all equipment, fixed assets, office supplies, medical supplies, and other properties of the Program.

BARMM Minister of Health Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan lauded the partnership, which he believes signifies renewed action to fight the challenges and he reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to address the TB problem in the entire region. 

“We cannot just sleep at night comfortably or sit in our offices knowing that hundreds and even thousands of people are getting ill, or worse, dying with this condition,” Dr. Dipatuan said.

In 2018, there were over 170 notified TB cases and more than 100 MDR-TB cases in the BARMM. The challenges in the implementation of the TB program include low case detection, increasing rate of lost to follow-up cases, and the low utilization of GeneXpert machines.

MOH-BARMM’s Technical Division Chief Dr. Sadaila K. Raki-in expressed gratitude to PBSP for the partnership which helps contribute to the country’s overall goal to end TB.

“PBSP through the years have helped us and never abandoned the MOH-BARMM. PBSP has been with us in supporting the TB Program even before 2015…Our focus is to end TB and there will be a time that TB will only be part of history. We must be thankful that we have been part of the legacy to end TB,” Dr. Raki-in said.  

Meanwhile, PBSP Executive Director Reynaldo Antonio D. Laguda recognized the efforts of the healthcare providers in the implementation of the TB control program.

“Our work in TB control began in 2015. And in the last four years, despite it being challenging, we are also happy to say that the people under Dr. Ampatuan have really been trying to beat the odds in the BARMM. The challenge for us is the way we expand the work we do,” he said.

PBSP INTERVENTIONS IN BARMM

TB Control is one just of the many initiatives of PBSP in the BARMM. Among its other projects include the conduct of Safe Motherhood Caravans to teach women of reproductive age life-saving maternal and child health information, as well as the Creating Spaces Project with Oxfam Canada, which helps change attitude, behavior and systems to reduce violence against women and girls, including child, early and forced marriages. For the past 18 years, PBSP has served as one of the key players in TB control management in the Philippines, having cemented its solid experience and expertise in managing projects as subcontractor and later as principal recipient through funding from major donors like the United States Agency for International Development, United Way Worldwide and The Global Fund. To date, PBSP continues to partner with the DOH-NTP in its goal to end TB in the country