CFI implements TB in the Workplace Project
Culion Foundation, Inc. partnered with the Quezon City Health Department and Samahan ng mga Manggagawa at Manininda ng Kamuning (SaMMPalKa) to launch the Tuberculosis (TB) in the Workplace Project. With this partnership, the group was able to empower their representatives through a capacity-building workshop, formulate their own TB workplace policy, and conduct lectures and information dissemination campaigns to educate and raise awareness about TB.
Before the inception of this project, tuberculosis was perceived with fear similar to COVID-19 by the members of the SaMMPalKa. Consequently, some members face social isolation and discrimination, even after they finish treatment. President Maylene Ola-Torres, representative of SaMMPalKa, articulated this concern, “Dedma doon sa mga meron at normally pinandidirian sila. Pag nakita mo, may question na ‘bakit nandito pa yan?’ o ‘baka makahawa pa yan’.” Furthermore, concerns regarding the employment of individuals who completed their TB treatment were raised. Ola-Torres remarked, “In question yung employment kung tatanggapin mo pa ba or hindi kahit na natapos niya [yung gamutan].”
Through the TB in the Workplace Project, SaMMPalKa gained a comprehensive understanding of tuberculosis. They learned about the signs and symptoms of TB, its transmission, appropriate measures to take when a community member acquires it, and effective means to control and prevent its spread. Moreover, they became aware of the local health services available to support patients with TB in their area. President Ola-Torres shared her newfound knowledge, saying, “[TB] pala is curable. After a certain period of time nang pag-inom ng gamot, ‘di ka na pala nakakahawa. Tapos nandun na rin yung kamalayan na paano if may TB siya? Pandidirian mo na lang? Or hahayaan mo siya?” To ensure widespread awareness, they partnered with market representatives to disseminate information within their area. “After our [initial] workshop, we had 60-70 people in our workshop na kasama ang ambulant, TODA at iba’t ibang seksyon ng palengke. May representative ka per section na nagdi-disseminate ng info. Sila rin ang contact person to invite other people sa susunod na workshop for info [dissemination].” Their campaign emphasizes that TB is a curable disease and it is no longer transmissible after one to two weeks of treatment. They aim to create a supportive environment ensuring non-discrimination.
The project also ignited discussions about collaborative efforts within their organization. “Ang org namin is parang unyon ng manggagawa. May mga tanong na kami na ‘Wala ba tayong magagawa within two weeks [ng gamutan]?’ ‘Wala ba siya assistance or compensation galing sa employer which is most likely ‘di magbibigay’ ‘Susuportahan ba siya ng health center or sa barangay?’.” The project further highlighted the economic burden that tuberculosis places on individuals and their families and what they could do to help. “Connect namin siya sa health center, unang-una. Kukuha rin kami ng assistance sa barangay bukod pa dun sa market. Kasi kung sa organisasyon lang namin, [kaya namin] tumulong once or twice,” President Ola-Torres noted.
Finally, through this project, the Kamuning Market Group established a partnership with their local health department, ensuring easier referrals for patients with TB in the future. “Pag may case, confident ako na kaya namin iaddress with partnerships [with the LGU].” Because of occupational risk factors, workers in the public market are more vulnerable to acquiring TB. Through the TB in the Workplace Project, Culion Foundation, Inc. continues to work tirelessly to eradicate TB in the Kamuning Market and beyond.