TBpeople Philippines at MSF-Doctors Without Borders World TB Day Celebration

TBpeople Philippines was honored to participate in this year’s World TB Day celebration hosted by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders. Under the theme “YES! We Can End TB: Empower and Engage TB Key Affected Populations to End TB,” the event served as a platform to galvanize engagement among Key Affected Populations (KAP) and patient support groups in our collective pursuit of a TB-free community. We extend our gratitude to MSF for organizing such a meaningful and impactful gathering.

Held on March 22, 2024, at the Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros Manila, the event aimed to highlight key stakeholders in the TB program and facilitate various discussions and activities:

1. *Milestones of MSF Tondo TB Project:* The event showcased the achievements and community engagement efforts of the MSF Tondo Tuberculosis (TB) Project, launched in 2021 in partnership with the Manila Health Department. Through initiatives like free Chest X-ray screening and GeneXpert testing, the project prioritizes prompt diagnosis and care for TB patients while fostering community involvement and barangay support.

2. *Patient Survivor Testimonials:* Patient survivors had the opportunity to share their personal experiences, challenges, and the support needed to achieve full recovery. Their powerful testimonials shed light on the human impact of TB and underscored the importance of holistic support for patients.

3. *Involvement of Patient Support Groups:* Discussions centered on the vital role of patient support groups in TB program planning, advocacy, and community engagement. These groups play a crucial role in providing support, raising awareness, and reducing stigma surrounding TB.

4. *Policy Statements from Health/Political Leaders:* The event featured policy statements from health and political leaders of Manila City, reaffirming their commitment to strengthening the TB program and ending TB in the city. These statements underscored the importance of political will and multi-sectoral collaboration in addressing TB challenges.

One notable highlight is MSF’s support for the creation of the Tbpeople Manila chapter, demonstrating a significant collaboration in the fight against tuberculosis. During this momentous occasion, Ms. Louie Zepeda-Teng, the President of TBpeople Philippines, seized the opportunity to elucidate on the organization’s mission and vision. This marks an important step forward in addressing the challenges posed by tuberculosis in the Philippines, showcasing a concerted effort towards enhancing awareness, advocacy, and support for individuals affected by this disease.

Furthermore, the event highlighted the significance of Republic Act 10767 and the Philippine Accelerated Action Plan for TB eradication by 2035 in emphasizing the role of KAP and fostering community linkages. The approval of Ordinance No. 8592 by the City Council of Manila further demonstrated the LGU’s commitment to TB control and elimination.

TBpeople Philippines extends its appreciation to MSF for the opportunity to participate in this impactful event. We remain steadfast in our commitment to working collaboratively towards a TB-free future.

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