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25 March 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment to eradicate tuberculosis and other infectious diseases after being hailed as a Tuberculosis Champion by the United States Agency for International Development.

USAID awarded the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) with the Tuberculosis Champion Award for its “exemplary political commitment and leadership in the fight against TB in the Philippines, as well as greater coverage and quality treatment for those suffering from the disease.”

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. received the award on behalf of the DOH on 24 March 2015 at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, DC.

“I reaffirm the Philippine’s commitment in battling TB, and other infectious diseases, and we look forward to working more closely with other Champions to eradicating tuberculosis throughout the world,” said Ambassador Cuisia in his acceptance speech.

The Philippines has made great strides against TB through the work of the DOH. The adoption of proven TB care strategies by the National TB Program have resulted in an impressive nationwide scale-up of quality treatment for drug-resistant TB as well as better coverage and treatment for those suffering from TB.

There has also been an increase in domestic funding for TB through the Sin Tax collections from tobacco and alcoholic beverage.

The envoy noted that a few years ago, the Philippines was one of the countries with the highest TB burdens. He also noted that the Philippines is now one of seven countries that has achieved its Millennium Development Goal of cutting the country’s TB prevalence and mortality in half as early as 2012.

“I am pleased to report that through the Department of Health’s effort, the Philippines had achieved—with the exception of incidence rates—the 2015 Millennium Development Goal’s targets for impact-level indicators three years in advance of deadline,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

However, the fight against TB is not over, and the Philippines is prepared to do what it takes to eradicate the disease.

“TB prevalence and mortality in the Philippines has been dramatically reduced since the 1990’s. However, the threat of TB—from new cases of the disease to the development of drug-resistant strains—remains a reality,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

Every year during World TB Day, USAID recognizes individuals, organizations, or institutions instrumental in achieving global TB targets.

The US Government is a leader in the global fight against TB and the largest bilateral donor in this effort, supporting programs in 26 countries with the highest TB burdens through the USAID.

The Philippines has received 44.6 million dollars in funding from USAID for TB-related projects from 2010 to 2013. ###