PASIG CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA) – Asia’s Multimedia Star Alden Richards has recently accepted USAID’s invitation to be the Ambassador of #EndTB campaign in the country.
As one of GMA Network’s top-caliber actors with a massive social media following, Alden will help influence the public in understanding tuberculosis, observing a healthy lifestyle, and in reducing the stigma of the disease, according to a release sent to PIA-NCR.
“I am honored and grateful to be chosen as #EndTB Ambassador supporting the #TBFreePh campaign. I am excited for this new role and I hope I will be able to contribute to this public health advocacy. I have always been promoting a healthy lifestyle and I am embracing this challenge to promote health seeking behavior for tuberculosis especially in the midst of the pandemic,” Richards said.
USAID Philippines, through its TB Platforms Project, collaborated with GMA Network to promote positive health-seeking and TB prevention behavior as well as inform Filipinos about TB’s symptoms and how to access TB services in their communities.
“With the disruptions in provision of different health services due to COVID-19, we needed to reinforce our campaign for TB elimination. The focus is now on bolstering resilient health systems that are able to cope with stresses brought about by the COVID-19 and other potential health issues. TB transmission does not stop during the pandemic. Ensuring access to TB services is critical even during quarantine restrictions,” said USAID Philippines Office of Health Director Michelle Lang-Alli.
Director Lang-Alli also said that campaigns by celebrities like Alden Richards can exponentially increase public awareness and provide accurate information about a disease, whether COVID-19 or tuberculosis
Through the #TBFree PH campaign, USAID supports the Department of Health’s (DOH) National TB Control Program (NTP) in finding and treating Filipinos with tuberculosis especially in this most challenging times of COVID-19.
According to USAID, TB persists to be a public health concern in the country with 73 deaths per day. For this reason, DOH mandated all health facilities to ensure continuous provision of sustainable and quality TB services amid the pandemic.
“The U.S. government, through USAID, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S State Department has provided nearly Php1 billion ($20.5 million) in COVID-19-related assistance. USAID also supports the Philippine government’s response to TB, investing more than more than $60 million to fight TB over the past five years to expand the delivery of quality services and strengthen health systems,” said Lang-Alli.
The USAID official added that over the last three years, USAID support has resulted to the successful treatment of about one million Filipinos with TB; increase in TB case detection rates through institutionalizing private sector notification systems; strengthening of service delivery capacities of hospitals and clinics; scaling-up of the Government of the Philippines’ decentralized multidrug-resistant TB program; and transitioning to a more patient-friendly treatment regimen and new TB drugs.
USAID’s TB Platforms partnered with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) for media outreach and dissemination of information, education and communication (IEC) materials on TB symptoms, list of health facilities and satellite treatment centers for TB diagnosis, care and treatment.
According to USAID, under the project’s social and behavior change communication strategies, celebrity ambassadors and media institutions will play a major role in raising public awareness on TB education amid COVID-19. (USAID/PIA-NCR)
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