Press Release/17 August 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) together with the World Health Organization (WHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Global Fund formally recognized their commitment to completely eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by signing a joint pledge of support in a bid to take the Philippines off the list of countries with the highest TB burden in the world.

“For years, many Filipinos have suffered from TB. We all need to accelerate our efforts to end TB in the Philippines,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, speaking at the DOH-led National Coordinating Committee on TB.

According to a 2017 global report, approximately 581,000 Filipinos were diagnosed with active TB disease and 27,000 Filipinos were reported to have died of TB.

“TB is curable, and together we can prevent thousands of preventable deaths from TB.” Secretary Duque spoke about the government’s commitment to find and treat 2.5 million TB patients by 2022, a target that was pledged at the 2018 UN High Level General Assembly in New York City. He also mentioned that DOH shall be accountable and continue to work with its partners to make health systems more responsive to patient needs.

To highlight their shared commitment and responsibility, leaders of DOH, USAID, WHO and the Global Fund signed the joint pledge of support to implement a “business not-as-usual” approach to accelerate TB response.  Development partners will continue to provide strategic packages of technical assistance, supplies, and human resources to fast track TB programming in the country. The U.S. government is also investing over 3 billion pesos in projects that support the National Tuberculosis Control Program.

“Today, USAID is reaffirming our commitment to strengthen the capacity of the Department of Health to accelerate, scale up and sustain the TB response,” said USAID Acting Mission Director Patrick Wesner.

The special meeting was organized as part of the National Coordinating Committee for TB, a high-level governing body of the National TB Control Program, composed of representatives from various agencies and partners that help the DOH address critical challenges of TB programming in the country.