TB Program - What We Do

Imagine there is a cure for your deadly disease.

And you did not know...

Tuberculosis is one of the three primary poverty-related diseases. Therefore it is no surprise that the number of affected people in the slums of Manila is many times higher than in the rest of the population.

Lack of money is one of the main reasons why medical care is not sought, the disease is not properly diagnosed or treatment is stopped prematurely. (The failure to complete the 6 month long treatment comes with a significant risk of developing multi-drug resistence (MDR) which is then very difficult to treat).

Shame and ignorance are other reasons that keep the sick from getting the lifesaving treatment. The Government provides free sputum examination and free drugs for adults. But the poor are often not aware of this. Or the way to the local Health Center is too long and too exhausting.
Untreated they pass on their potentially deadly disease to their spouses, children, neigbours, colleagues.

Through our TB program we are reaching out to overcome the hurdles:

We teach capable individuals in the slums to become Community Health Volunteers (CHV). They learn how to identify possible Tb patients, how to collect the sputum needed for the diagnosis and how to monitor the daily intake of the drugs during the 6 months of treatment once the diagnosis is made. Supervision and support is given to them by a medical team of doctor and nurses.
In addition, one of the CHV's has been trained to prepare the sputum for microscopy. This allows us to receive and process the sputums directly in the community, minimizing the transport path, a potential obstacle to persue diagnosis and treatment.

The medical team is visiting the community regularly to hold clinics and is available for house visits when necessary. Furthermore we place high value in health teaching and knowledge transfer. The patient, his family and the whole community should be well informed about the cause of the disease, the treatment and preventative measurements.

In order to bridge the financial gaps, we sponsor the drugs for the children (not provided by the government), cover the costs for a chest-X-ray for those who need one to confirm the diagnosis (children and sputum negative adults) and offer tuberculosis skin testing at no charge for all children at risk or those who have symptoms.
Our MDR cases are often in need of financial support of the transport costs for their daily visit at a specialised center. It is our utmost concern that those patients take their daily medication for the prolonged therapy (12-18 months) in order to get cured and not become a threat to their environment.

The Tb project was initiated in 2011 by Regina Jansen, RN from Holland, and Daniel and Cornelia, MD's from Switzerland. As intercultural workers of OMF International they are working with Bukang Liwayway in Manila and beyond.