The workplace is the fertile ground for tubercolosis, or TB, the sixth leading cause of death and illness in the Philippines, a Labor official said Thursday.
“They [workers] spend more than half of their day in the workplace. Likewise, workers are highly mobile, so the frequency of TB transmission is very easy [given these circumstances],” Department of Labor Undersecretary Teresa Soriano said in her speech during the commemoration of The World TB Day at the SM Mall of Asia.
TB is a deadly disease caused by mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans and is spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting. The good news is, it is curable.
“This situation minimizes productivity because employees eventually get sick and accumulate lots of absences that disrupt production,” she added.
The employers, according to Soriano, should protect their employees’ right to work in an environment without undue health hazards.
“Clearly, there is a need for TB control in the workplace,” Soriano said.
At least 75 percent of TB cases in the Philippines are early detected, while the country’s TB treatment success rate is 85 percent.
Such relatively high figures, however, are still not enough for Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral.
“TB is the leading cause of death in the Philippines in 40 years. Now, it is at sixth place. We still have a long way to go,” Cabral said.
At the World TB Day celebration, the SM Group of Companies signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Health, while the local governments represented by the League of Municipalities and League of Provinces of the Philippines sealed a Grant Agreement with USAID’s TB LINC Project to promote cooperation and innovative practices to improve TB control in the workplace and in communities.
“But it is good that we have these projects so that we can people will realize that it is not shameful to have TB and that they should have themselves examined so that they can be cured,” Cabral added. –LLANESCA T. PANTI Reporter, Manila Times