Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID implemented several initiatives to boost the Philippine government’s fight against this dreaded disease.
Ryan Washburn, USAID Mission Director to the Philippines, Pacific Islands and Mongolia

Read how USAID commits to make more investments towards ending TB on World TB Day 2022.

World TB Day Ryan Washburn

Remarks from Mr. Ryan Washburn
Mission Director, USAID/Philippines

World TB Day 2022

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III;
Province of Quirino Governor Dakila Carlo Cua;
Philippine Coalition against Tuberculosis, or PhilCAT, leadership;
Other government officials;
Distinguished guests and organizers;
Ladies and gentlemen:

Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat!

It is my privilege to represent the U.S. government and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that partners with the Philippine government to accelerate efforts to reach and cure every Filipino with TB, and prevent the spread of disease and new infections. USAID is part of the larger U.S. Embassy community in the Philippines, and I bring you the greetings of the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Heather Variava.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the observance of the 2022 World TB Day. It is an honor to be among champions from the government, private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders who play essential roles in the fight against tuberculosis. This event is an important platform to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic became a stumbling block toward meeting our shared goal of eliminating TB in the Philippines. Sadly, over one hundred thousand more Filipinos will die of TB in the next five years if full TB control efforts do not resume. The Philippines is one of the 16 countries that contributed to the global shortfall in notified TB cases due to the severe disruptions of TB services caused by the pandemic.

Despite these challenges, I commend the hard work of the Philippine government, through the leadership of DOH Secretary Duque, in ensuring that TB services are available despite the limited mobility and prioritization of COVID 19 response and vaccination. I would also like to applaud our heroes, the frontline healthcare workers, for their commitment to provide essential care to people suffering from TB, COVID-19 and other illnesses.

In 2021, over 300,000 people received life-saving TB treatment, which is a 19 percent increase from the previous year’s TB case notification. This is a good sign of early recovery, but still below the national target and pre-COVID achievements.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID implemented several initiatives to boost the Philippine government’s fight against this dreaded disease.

USAID supported the creation of the Philippine Private Sector Diagnostics Consortium. Through this consortium, member hospitals and laboratories from the private sector were able to purchase GeneXpert testing machines and commodities at a discount of 50 million pesos. As a result, the total cost of TB testing for patients was reduced by over 41 million pesos compared with the commercial price for the same test.

USAID also engaged different local leaders through the “Usapang Dibdiban” (Real Talk) sessions where they discussed issues on TB implementation and advocated to support the TB program. This effort generated approximately 42 million pesos of local TB funding in the USAID-assisted regions of Central Luzon, CALABARZON and Metro Manila.

Furthermore, USAID provided new innovative portable tools worth 130 million pesos to the Department of Health and to selected local government units to boost TB detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

I would like to share the story of Neri, a 67 year old jeepney driver from Binondo Manila. Neri started showing symptoms of TB even before the pandemic, but decided not to seek treatment as he wanted to continue working to provide for his family’s needs. In September 2021, he finally visited a health center after experiencing difficulty breathing and non-stop coughing, symptoms similar to COVID 19. He was referred to Delpan Swabbing facility, a site where both TB and COVID 19 screening and testing are provided together as a pilot by USAID and the Department of Health

Neri’s result came in negative for COVID-19 but he tested positive for TB, his second time being diagnosed with TB, after being successfully treated many years ago. I am happy to inform you all that Neri completed his six months treatment and is now cured of TB. He still visits the health center on a monthly basis for a supply of vitamins and for post treatment monitoring.

Neri’s story of treatment and recovery would not have been possible without the strong leadership of the local government and the support of the Department of Health, private sector, and communities.

With stronger political commitment, both the national and local governments need to strengthen the procurement and supply chain system and boost financing capacity to improve people’s access to quality healthcare. We ask for the support of health leaders, and of our government partners, to institute more effective policies and resources to address TB in this country.

USAID, through the Global Accelerator to end TB, has committed 850 million pesos to implement USAID’s 2022 TB Roadmap and TB recovery plan in the Philippines. This assistance will help the government’s TB control efforts to achieve its commitment to the UN General Assembly to find and treat 2.5 million TB cases by 2022.

For this year’s World TB Day, USAID has made the call to “Invest to end TB and Save Lives!” We are one with you in sounding the alarm that we cannot win the fight against TB without adequate financial resources and political will. USAID is one with you in advocating for urgent investments to decision-makers at the global, national, local government units and private sector.

Our work, together with the efforts of the Philippine government and private sector, reinforces the message that we need to speed up our TB response and achieve our shared goal of a healthier and more prosperous Philippines.

As a friend, partner and ally, the U.S. government will continue to partner with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to scale up high-impact interventions and introduce new and promising approaches to screen, detect, treat and prevent TB.

Maraming salamat po!



Access our Resources

IEC Materials, Webinars, Updates

Let's talk about TB

#TBFreePH Forum