Romualdez cites strong PH-US partnership in fight vs tuberculosis
August 22, 2022, 7:32 PMHouse Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday, Aug. 22, was all praises for the strong partnership between the Philippines and the United States (US) in the fight against tuberculosis. Eradicating the incidence of tuberculosis by 2030 is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (UN). During the launch Monday of the National Lung Month celebration at the House of Representatives, Romualdez emphasized the valuable contribution of unity in dealing with global health emergencies. He cited the “two of the most important lessons” that the people learned from the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. “First, diseases do not recognize territorial boundaries; and second, the most effective way to deal with global health emergencies is by working together – each and every one of us, doing our share to make the world a healthier place to live in,” Romualdez said in his speech. The launch was spearheaded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) TB Platforms together with Advanced Abilities and the Quezon City government. Romualdez expressed his gratitude to the USAID for being a “steadfast partner” of the Philippine government in eliminating tuberculosis, which he said was “one of the top 10 leading causes of death” in the country. The House leader said the lower chamber fully supports the PH-US partnership against tuberculosis. He mentioned the important legislative measures now being discussed on the fatal disease under the 19th Congress. “In 2016, we passed Republic Act No. 10767, or the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Plan Act. Since the 19th Congress opened, at least two bills have been filed seeking to strengthen RA 10767. This is in response to the WHO (World Health Organization) study that the Philippines is among the eight countries where two-thirds of total TB cases in the world are found,” he said. As a long-term strategy Romualdez added he and Reps. Yedda Romualdez and Jude Acidre of Tingog Party-list, filed House Bill (HB) No. 9, providing for “the modernization of the public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities, establishing the Philippines’ own Center for Disease Control”. “This bill and the 23 more bills on the subject underscore the fact that public health remains foremost in the minds of your Representatives in the 19th Congress,” the Leyte representative said. Citing information from WHO, he explained that TB incidence is on a decline at about two percent per year, with an estimated 66 million lives saved from 2000 to 2020 through early TB diagnosis and treatment. But even with these positive developments, funding for the detection and treatment of tuberculosis still fell short of what is actually needed, he said. “This synergy, exemplified in today’s (Monday) activity, is the key to our shared success. Let us continue to extend our hands in peace not only to those in need but specially to those with whom we have been working together for decades for the best interest of our people,” the veteran lawmaker said. DOH Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Secretary Rosario Vergeire, USAID OIC Director Rebekah Eibanks, USAID’s TB Platform Chief of Party Dr. Marianne Calnan, Advance Abilities President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Angelo Antonio Buendia, Regional Director DOH Metro Manila Center for Health Development Dr. Gloria Balboa, and representatives from Quezon City government were among those who attended the launch.
Published August 22, 2022, 7:32 PM