Empowering 4Ps Beneficiaries: Overcoming Tuberculosis through Family Development Sessions

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Empowering Families Against Tuberculosis: Success Stories from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program

Some beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have shared their inspiring stories of overcoming tuberculosis (TB) through early detection and immediate medical intervention. These success stories highlight the impact of the Family Development Sessions (FDS) module, a program initiated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2023 to help beneficiaries learn more about the program and participate in community development.

The FDS is a community-based learning session conducted once a month nationwide. Undersecretary Vilma Cabrera from the DSWD emphasizes the importance of member attendance in these sessions, which cover topics such as responsible parenting, health, nutrition, financial literacy, and voter education. According to Cabrera, the FDS has emerged as a valuable strategy for raising TB awareness within family units, fostering behavioral changes, reducing stigma, promoting community engagement, and ensuring long-term impact in the fight against TB.

Overcoming TB: A Family’s Journey

One family from Albay shared their experience of overcoming TB. Cecilia Arimado, a market vendor, noticed something was wrong with her 20-year-old daughter Lhian when she started experiencing daily weight loss, frequent chills, and occasional vomiting. Lhian suddenly felt weak and unable to stand during her pre-graduation photo shoot, prompting Cecilia to take her to a clinic in Legazpi City. They were then referred to a health center for further evaluation.

Lhian recalls her initial doubts and fears upon learning about her disease. “At first, I really didn’t know what this was. When I found out about my disease, I started doubting my capability to manage it,” she said. Fortunately, an FDS session conducted by DSWD Legazpi in their community provided an opportunity for Cecilia to seek help for her daughter. After the session, Cecilia approached one of the staff members and brought up Lhian’s condition.

With the help of the health center in their area and in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Lhian’s medication only took six months. The accessibility of health centers near the 4Ps members’ areas allowed them to seek medical assistance promptly, ensuring timely treatment and recovery.

Overcoming Challenges: The Betser Family’s Story

The story of the Betser family in Zamboanga Sibugay reflects the initial struggles faced by many families battling TB. Alongside facing TB among three family members, the limited income of the Betser family led them to initially try faith healing and self-medication.

Nanay Arlyn, who earned P4,000 a month as a household helper, felt immense pressure during this challenging time. However, they soon learned that self-medication could worsen the situation and that seeking professional help is essential. After their family’s recovery, Arlyn requested a special FDS to be conducted among her co-4Ps beneficiaries in their area. She shared how the program has helped her family and encouraged others to take advantage of the available resources.

Tackling TB: The Current Situation

Data from the DOH revealed that from January 1 to December 31, 2023, there were 612,534 new and relapsed TB cases in the country. This translates to a case notification rate (CNR) of 549 cases per 100,000 populations, which is higher than the previous year’s CNR of 439 cases per 100,000.

The DOH also reported that 86 percent of those notified with new and relapsed cases were tested using rapid diagnostic tools. These statistics highlight the importance of early detection and the need for continued efforts to raise awareness, provide access to medical assistance, and promote community engagement in the fight against TB.

The success stories shared by beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program demonstrate the positive impact of the Family Development Sessions in battling TB. By equipping families with knowledge, promoting behavioral changes, and reducing stigma, the program plays a crucial role in ensuring the long-term well-being of families and communities. Through continued support and collaboration between government agencies and community members, the fight against TB can be strengthened, and more success stories can be shared.

Source: The Manila Times

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