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A brilliant and dedicated physician. A dynamic leader. A visionary with a heart. A loving wife and mother. These are just some of the descriptions that would be used by most people to remember the late Dr. Thelma E. Tupasi-Ramos, the woman who changed the course of tuberculosis (TB) in Philippine history.

For more than five decades of unwavering commitment towards her countrymen, she showed how a scientist, health leader, physician, mentor, wife, and mother could all be rolled into one.

On March 24, we will commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day not just to raise awareness about the consequences brought by this global epidemic but also to bring it again to the spotlight amidst another global health issue.

The Philippines has the highest incidence rate of Tuberculosis (TB) cases in all of Asia yet providing treatment still remains an imposing challenge for the country’s health sector. When factors such as cost of medication, potential loss of work, and misconceptions on the disease resulting in stigma and discrimination come into play, Filipinos have become less inclined to getting themselves checked and treated.

As we watch how the COVID-19 pandemic has reached every corner of the Philippines, there is another pandemic that has been with us for the longest time. Tuberculosis has put the Philippines on top in the whole of Asia, with the highest incidence rate of 554 cases per 100,000 people.


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