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Officials with the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) report detecting nearly 200 new cases of tuberculosis (TB) in the past several months.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, Jr., head of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said deployed mobile teams conducted massive free chest X-rays for TB case detection in the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

He said their teams have so far catered to around 1,000 residents, with 20 percent or about 200 turning out positive for the disease.

“This means that we have many residents who are experiencing this illness but were not detected probably because of misinformation and inaccessibility to diagnostic services and treatment,” he said during the regular flag-raising ceremony at the provincial capitol.

Infectious disease health personnel are trying to reach the remotest areas in the province using a mobile X-ray van provided by agency partners Maranao People Development Center, Inc. (Maradeca) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Aturdido said.

Another mobile X-ray van with a sputum testing laboratory purchased by the provincial government is expected to arrive soon to further expand the ongoing case-finding and surveillance, he said.

Aturdido said they are also set to deploy ultraportable chest X-ray machines to augment testing activities.

Aturdido earlier said the province’s treatment success rate for TB was 95 percent, but the case detection rate was only 56 percent.

Since last year, the IPHO already catered to around 3,000 residents for the free chest X-ray in partnership with Maradeca and PBSP.

In March 2020, it reported detecting nearly 600 new TB cases in its surveillance activities with PBSP.