Provincial Government of Bulacan

PGB promotes use of digital tools to support TB patients and healthcare workers

CITY OF MALOLOS – The Provincial Government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Daniel R. Fernando urges the patients with Tuberculosis (TB) in Bulacan to use Digital Adherence Technologies (DAT) of ASCENT Project (Adherence Support Coalition to End TB).

The ASCENT project is being implemented by KNCV in partnership with the Department of Health and the local governments of Bulacan and Pampanga for TB treatment positive outcomes as well as TB prevention and care worldwide.

Unlike the traditional Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) tool that allows the patients to take their medication at their convenient place and time while still connected with their health care provider, DAT tools is supporting TB patients in taking their medications through smartphone-based technologies, digital pillboxes and ingestible sensors.

Fernando said that the familiar smart mobile phone device will be able to help people with TB on their treatment journey, smart information and communication for TB treatment especially now that there is COVID-19 crisis.

“Hinihikayat ko na ang bawat pasyente ay mag-enroll gamit ang libreng pagte-text at video upang mamonitor ang inyong gamutan sa nasabing sakit. Suportahan po natin ang gamutang ito upang maiwasan ang face to face interaction,” the governor said.

According to Bulacan Provincial Health Office-Public Health, there are 16 Intervention facilities in the province of Bulacan for the implementation of ASCENT Project (Adherence Support Coalition to End TB) through DAT including eight for Medication Sleeve/Label and eight for Smart pill box while there are six Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB Satellite Treatment Centers on Video Observed Treatment.

Also, Regional Technical Officer Mona Lisa Morales of ASCENT said that TB medication adherence include Medication sleeves/labels, Smart pill boxes and Video-supported treatment that could generate a digital record of medication intake thus health care workers can monitor adherence via a single user interface to support the treatment of people with TB.

In using digital tool called DAT, TB patients should enroll first in any health facility identified and they will receive TB medication in customized packaging. After which, patients should make a toll-free call or text a code from the DAT to automatically log their daily dose. They are also provided with a specially-designed box to store their TB medication.

Every time they open the box, the embedded device sends a signal and automatically notifies the health care worker of the logged daily dose. During medication intake, the patient records a video message using a customized app on their mobile phone. After completion, the video is sent to the health care worker for review.

Meanwhile, through the ASCENT Project, Bulacan healthcare providers, some key TB players at the local, regional, and central National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP) levels continuously convenes and assesses the DAT performance to patients and providers via online.

ASCENT project is being funded by Unitaid, a global health initiative and led by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation which has more than 100 years of expertise and experience in fighting TB, aiming for a TB-free world. ###