Tuberculosis Treatment in the Philippines
Our country is compliant with the WHO-prescribed TB treatment, DOTS.
DOTS stands for Directly-observed Therapy Short-course and is an effective way to “break the cycle of transmission”. Below are the components of the program:
Patients need to receive several medications
In treating an active tuberculosis disease, patients need to receive a combination of medications. The first line drugs are rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. Fixed dose combination (FDC) is available and the one most commonly prescribed.
A person who has an active TB disease might need to take a break from work or school for at least two weeks to receive their medications. After that period, their symptoms will improve and the doctor may give clearance after the assessment.
However, to completely clear the tuberculosis disease and infection, they need to complete the short-course treatment for 6 months.
A healthcare worker will observe when the patient takes their medicines
The highlight of TB DOTS in the Philippines is this: Someone has to observe the patient when they take their medications.
The reason why the program is “directly-observed” is because a healthcare worker needs to witness that the patient has indeed taken the drugs. Being directly-observed by a healthcare worker has several advantages, namely:
- It will help the patient remember to take their medications and complete their treatment. Completing the treatment is important because not being able to do so can result in drug resistance, which is more costly and difficult to treat.
- The healthcare worker can see if the therapy is effective.
- The healthcare worker can notice right away if the patient develops adverse drug reactions.
TB DOTS in the Philippines is free and convenient
Finally, please note that the DOTS tuberculosis treatment in the Philippines is free. The public hospital, clinic, or health center will provide the patient with all the medications they need.
Moreover, it’s also convenient. Patients can meet the healthcare worker in the health facility, their workplace, or any convenient location.
If patients choose to be treated in a private facility, PhilHealth pays PHP 4,000 for the entire 6-month treatment. This covers diagnostic tests, consultation, and medications during the DOTS program.