In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where public health resources were stretched thin, the Culion Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) showcased their unwavering commitment to combating tuberculosis (TB) by embarking on an ambitious journey. The TB-Active Case Finding (TB-ACF) program set its sights on the remote and challenging island of Mindoro. Despite the extra hurdles posed by the geographical landscape, the program managed to screen 2,225 individuals across ten towns, prioritizing high-risk groups and becoming a beacon of hope for TB eradication in the region.
The TB-ACF program faced the significant challenge of navigating the rugged and diverse geography of Mindoro. Many of the island’s communities are situated in remote and hard-to-reach areas, making access to healthcare services a constant struggle. However, the partners refused to be daunted by the obstacles and instead devised innovative strategies to penetrate these regions, determined to leave no one behind.
At the core of the TB-ACF program’s success was the emphasis on prioritizing high-risk groups. The Culion Foundation and PBSP focused on reaching out to vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people living with HIV (PLHIV), immunocompromised individuals, and smokers. These groups were identified as being at higher risk for TB infection and were, therefore, the primary targets for screening.
The success of the TB-ACF program in Mindoro was anchored in the power of community engagement. By collaborating with local governments, community leaders, and healthcare workers, the Culion Foundation and PBSP fostered trust and support for the initiative. This collaboration enabled them to effectively navigate the region’s unique challenges and tailor their approach to meet the specific needs of each community.
As the Culion Foundation and PBSP continue their efforts in Mindoro, their pioneering work in penetrating the island’s remote areas and prioritizing high-risk groups serves as a model for future TB-ACF initiatives in challenging locations. With each screening and each life touched, the partners are one step closer to achieving their shared vision of a Philippines free from the burden of TB.