The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide its field personnel with free tuberculosis (TB) screening and chest X-ray.
MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said the initiative aims to identify those with cases of TB and provide them full treatment until recovery.
“We want to ensure the well-being of our field personnel, who are also our frontline workers. It is our way of extending help to them as they perform their duty while risking their health,” Abalos said.
USAID’s TB Platform Active Case Finding Team will use a mobile X-ray van to be parked outside the agency’s headquarters in Makati City to conduct the free TB screening and chest X-ray to all its 2,500 field workers.
It is these types of personnel, particularly street sweepers and traffic enforcers, who are highly exposed to dust, toxins, vehicular smoke, and other emissions.
“Through these diagnostic tests, we can prevent exposure and reduce risk of transmission of infection. It will benefit not only our workers, but also their family, especially since TB and COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) both target the persons’ respiratory system,” he added.
MMDA Health and Environmental Protection Office head, Dr. Loida Alzona said those who will turn out to be TB-positive will be endorsed to the Makati City government for free medication.
“Traffic enforcers, street sweepers and other field personnel are prone to have lung diseases such as TB because of their long exposure to pollution,” said Alzona.
“Those who are smoking are even more vulnerable to TB as smoking weakens the lungs,” she added.
TB–which can be transmitted to another person through coughing, sneezing, and spitting–is the world’s leading killer in terms of infectious diseases. While it commonly affects lungs, it can also affect other organs such as the kidney, bones, and liver, among others.