Press Release
September 6, 2008

Leading cause of death in the country:
How's our TB treatment program? - Villar

Senate President Manny Villar filed Senate Resolution No. 619 urging the Senate committee on health and demography to inquire into the adequacy of appropriations and programs for the treatment of tuberculosis in the country.

Villar filed the resolution in the wake of the demise of the "face of the poor" Felipe Natanio, also known as "Mang Pandoy," due to tuberculosis.

In his resolution, the Nacionalista Party president emphasized that tuberculosis is a curable disease.

"The problem of tuberculosis is substantial in the urban poor settlements, and appreciably worse than that in the general urban population based on studies conducted by the Tropical Disease Foundation," his resolution stated.

Villar said, "The poor are more likely to suffer from TB, which strikes in situations of overcrowding, inadequate ventilation, and malnutrition. They also tend to receive inadequate health care as stated in the published statement of the World Health Organization."

"The poor should have better access to the goals, programs and appropriations to fight tuberculosis which is said to infect six in 10 Filipinos and claims a life every 20 minutes," he said.

TB is an infectious disease cause by TB bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) which primarily affects the lungs. It is the sixth leading cause of illness and the sixth leading cause of death in the Philippines.

Most TB patients belong to the economically productive age group (15 to 54), according to the second National Prevalence Survey in 1997.

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