MANILA- On March 24, 2015, in recognition of World TB Day, Embassy Manila’s U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will honor the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) for its achievements in the global fight against tuberculosis (TB), which annually kills 27,000 Filipinos and 1.5 million people worldwide. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. will accept the TB Champion award on behalf of DOH at a ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C.
At a local counterpart awarding ceremony celebrating World TB Day on March 23, 2015 in Batangas City, DOH Secretary Janette Garin accepted the TB Champion award from USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele.
“The United States is a proud member of the global partnership to eliminate this disease, improving access to life-saving drugs and giving people the chance to live healthy, productive lives,” remarked Director Steele.
The TB Champion award recognizes the Philippines’ outstanding work in the fight against TB. Adopting proven TB care strategies and innovations, the DOH successfully scaled up quality treatment of multidrug-resistant TB and expanded coverage and treatment of adults and children suffering from TB. These efforts have enabled the country to achieve – three years ahead of the 2015 deadline – the Millennium Development Goal targets of reducing by half TB prevalence and mortality rates relative to the 1990 baseline.
The local World TB Day celebration also witnessed Johnson & Johnson’s ceremonial turn over to USAID of its donation of bedaquiline, the new drug in the arsenal to fight multi drug-resistant TB. The drug donation, made available through a memorandum of agreement forged between USAID and Johnson & Johnson, will enable the Philippines and 99 other low- and middle-income eligible countries to access the life-saving drug for free under certain conditions.
USAID supports the DOH National TB Control Program to strengthen TB case finding, ensure cure through completion of treatment, and enhance the quality of TB care from prevention to cure. As one of just four Partnership for Growth countries in the world, the U.S. government works closely with the Government of the Philippines to improve the health and productivity of Filipinos to accelerate inclusive growth and advance prosperity and stability throughout the nation. (PR)