CALBAYOG CITY – Foreign investments of up to P1 billion per year for the next three years pour in to the Philippines as we now reach number 4 among the 27 high-burden countries in terms of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) with an estimated 13,000 cases as of 2012. This after two international funding organizations, The Global Fund and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), granted funds on March this year through the PBSP (Philippine Business for Social Progress) worth USD$70M (from The Global Fund) and a separate USD$28 million (from USAID) for the implementation of projects to support the goals of the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) in the Philippines. PBSP, a corporate-led, non-profit social development foundation in the Philippines, will extend support to anti-TB programs of local government units (LGUs), and one of those identified to receive such support is the city government of Calbayog. Kurt Baltero of the PBSP organization, during his visit to the city recently, said that they are set to put up PMDT (Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis) Treatment Facility in the city which will be a DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy-Short Course) facility as well. Activities in the facility, he added, will start from case detection, treatment, surveillance, and monitoring of patients suffering from MDR-TB. MDR-TB is tuberculosis that is resistant to at least isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP), the two most powerful first-line treatment anti-TB drugs. Treatment for those diagnosed as MDR cases will take minimum of two years, according to Baltero. Aside from the facility, other PBSP’s support that Baltero mentioned are manpower augmentation, staff trainings, equipment to start up operations, diagnostic services, financial assistance to patients, and facility budget for operational expenses. Baltero likewise stressed that the “would-be” counterpart of the LGU for this project is only an infrastructure support in place that can cater 10-20 patients, and one HR support that will ensure security and upkeep of all project-provided equipment and supplies in the facility. Other partners of PBSP in their fight against MDR-TB are the WHO (World Health Organization), MSH (Management Sciences for Health) and IMPACT (Innovations and Multisectoral Partnerships to Achieve Control of Tuberculosis). (AIMEE CATALAN/PR)