CITY OF MALOLOS – The U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID in collaboration with the Department of Health, Provincial Government of Bulacan and Rogaciano M. Mercado Memorial Hospital held a Ceremonial Turnover of Tibay ng Dibdib Storybook: The Journey of Young TB Survivors via Zoom yesterday in line with the celebration of the Philippine Lung Month.
Director Michelle Lang-Alli from the Office of Health-USAID Philippines, said that it was a significant event that highlighted the importance of having a strong program to fight childhood tuberculosis.
She added that the book, which also comes with a coloring book version, is about two sisters ages two and seven who were diagnosed with TB and have completed their treatment, survived the disease and are now able to return to their normal lives.
“We are here to celebrate public and private partnership and formally launch the storybook. TB is an infectious disease but it can be cured. It takes a village to support a TB patient. It can be done with compassion and partnership. USAID remains committed to the vision of TB free Philippines. TB is a priority” she said.
Gov. Daniel R. Fernando said that he wants to see the province to become TB free as he was formally designated as the National TB Control Ambassador for the local chief executives.
“My full support is always there para labanan ang TB. Buti na lang may gamot na ito lalo sa panahon ngayon ng pandemya. Let’s continue to pray”Fernando said.
Dr. David Rawland Domingo, chief of hospital of RMMMH, said that the book is another opportunity to be stronger and be informed in order to combat TB.
In addition, Dr. Caroline Bernardo from RMMMH who personally oversaw the treatment of the kids, said that a sick person is a sick spirit and needs strong support.
“Tibay ng Dibdib is about family resilience. Coming everyday to the center is not about painful injection and tablet intakes, it is about meeting friends. This book will serve as an inspiration to other kids to be determined na matapos ang kanilang gamuta” Bernardo said.
According DOH Regional Director for Central Luzon Center for Health Development Dr. Caesar Cassion, they never thought that the story of treating those kids will become a storybook because they were just doing their job.
He said that from January to June 2020, there were already 8,280 TB cases and 12 percent of which or 1,363 cases are children from Central Luzon.
“Ang focus kasi ng mga nakaraang advocacy natin ay adults, kaya ngayon binigyang diin natin ang mga bata, bukod sa procurement ng drugs and monitoring the treatment progress, we launched this book para maramdaman ng mga bata na kasama sila sa programa” Cassion said.
Meanwhile, on behalf of the private sector, Ann Reboso-Abacan of the Sophia School in City of Meycauayan and Rich Rodriguez, founder of Pinoy Story Tellers, expressed their commitment to propagate the vision.
In closing, Dr. Marrian Calnan, Chief of Party-USAID TB Platforms, said that even though the treatment has evolved from 30 tablets per day to four, she still witnesses people helplessly dying when in fact, TB is curable.
“We still need to rally our efforts because as an individual we can create a ripple, but a community can create a wave to end this TB”, Dr. Calnan said. ###