What is the Davao Doctors Hospital TB DOTS Center?
The Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH) TB DOTS Center is a special diagnostic and therapeutic unit catering to patients diagnosed with or suspected of having tuberculosis. Despite advances in the field of medicine, Tuberculosis remains the biggest health threat and killer in the world. The Philippines ranks 8th in the world and 3rd in the Western Pacific Region in terms of the burden of TB. It is the 6thcause of morbidity and mortality in our country and Davao City with an estimated 270,000 cases detected every year. It is estimated that about 75 Filipinos per day or about 3 Filipinos per hour die from tuberculosis.
Global, National, and Local targets cannot be met without the new paradigm of a partnership between the government and the private sector. For this reason, the Department of Health.
The PhilHealth and the Davao Doctors Hospital in a strategic partnership developed the DDH TB DOTS Center. This is a public-private mix endeavor that aligns the hospital’s adherence to accepted standards of care and acknowledges the significant contribution of the private health sector in the fight against TB.
What is DOTS?
While there has been no significant change in the treatment of tuberculosis in the past few years, the Directly Observed Treatment Strategy (DOTS) is the most effective approach towards the diagnosis, treatment, and control of tuberculosis worldwide. It operates by the standard protocol of the World Health Organization and the Department of Health.
The 5 elements of the DOTS strategy include:
1. Sustained political commitment
2. Sputum AFB smears processed and read by a competent microscopist trained under the DOH
3. Directly observed treatment with short-course chemotherapy
4. Uninterrupted and free medications for tuberculosis
5. Recording and monitoring to assess outcomes
Since the emphasis of the TB program is on patient adherence to treatment, the program encourages patients to take the medicines under the daily direct observation of a treatment partner (hence the term “directly observed”), preferably a member of the DDH TB DOTS Center staff. Other treatment partners may be volunteered and trained, such as barangay health workers, the patient’s spouse, or other close family members.
How can a Davao Doctors Hospital patient and physician have access to the Davao Doctors Hospital TB DOTS Center?
All out-patients and in-patients with requests for Sputum AFB smears shall be directed by the ambulatory staff to the DDH TB DOTS Center for evaluation. Patients with positive sputum AFB smears shall be enrolled in a DOTS program and will be eligible to receive free anti-TB medicines for the duration of treatment. All enrolled patients are assigned a treatment partner who shall be responsible for directly observing the patient’s intake of medicines. Regular follow up with the attending physician shall be strongly encouraged.
Private and company physicians are encouraged to refer their patients to the DDH TB DOTS Center for assessment and possible enrollment with the full benefit of the DOTS Strategy.
What if a patient is sputum negative but is still suspected of having the disease based on symptoms and radiologic findings?
These patients shall be deliberated by a TB Diagnostic Committee (TBDC) who shall deliberate these smear-negative cases in the light of the patient’s history and physical examination findings. The Davao Doctors Hospital TBDC consists of DOH trained consultants from the Sections of Pulmonary Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and the Department of Radiology.
Patients who are deliberated as having active disease shall be enrolled in the DOTS Program and shall be eligible to receive free medicines.