In the Philippines, pulmonary diseases continue to be a common cause of hospitalizations, absenteeism and even death. Can something be done about it?
By Dr. Eileen G. Aniceto and Dr. Ma Janeth T. Samson
People get hospitalized or die of pneumonia; curable diseases like tuberculosis continue to plague our country; asthma is still a common cause of absenteeism from school or work; and smoking related diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and cancer are on the rise.
All of these conditions contribute to the skyrocketing cost of health care which, sad to say, not everyone can afford. We, in the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), believe that by promoting healthy lungs and preventive health care, we can help our community stay healthy and reduce health care cost.
In fact, the mission of the College includes active promotion of lung health for the Filipino community through its advocacy arm. We have continued to serve selected communities through our community outreach program, manned by fellows in training from the different training institutions.
This year, we provided regular outpatient services and lay fora at the Holy Family Parish Church in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Traditionally, the advocacy activities of the college are council driven, and coincides with global celebrations, for example, World TB Day, World Asthma Day, World No Tobacco Day, World COPD Day, World Lung Cancer Awareness Month. These activities usually involve lay health fora and media guestings.
In 2017, we brought the advocacy program one step further, by developing a month long celebration of the Lung Month last August 2017, appropriately named “Kilusang Malusog na Baga.”
For each week in August, we featured different pulmonary conditions in different radio and TV shows.
Week 1 – COPD, lung cancer, anti smoking and air pollution
Week 2 – Bronchial asthma
Week 3 – Tuberculosis
Week 4 – Pneumonia and prevention
As a culminating activity for the Lung Month celebrations, PCCP held for the first time Kilusang Malusog Na Baga mini health fair last August 27, 2017 at the Quezon Memorial Circle. This was preceded by ZUMBAGA, a Zumba activity from in the same venue. Different Zumba groups lead the throng of attendees through the two hours of zumba, led by our very own Dr. Gemma Magtibay and with a special appearance of Health Undersecretary Dr. Eric Tayag.
Some topics that were covered during the health fair: Healthy vs diseased lungs, free spirometry, take a COPD test, STOP smoking information, asthma and inhaler devices, TB or not TB, snoring, exercise to improve lung health and build endurance, healthy lungs in the workplace, cough hygiene, preventing respiratory infections and preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Both the health fair and the Zumba activity were huge successes, with a steady influx of participants and bystanders which went a long way towards increasing public awareness on pulmonary health care.
As of this writing, the College is gearing up again for the lung month activities this coming August and we are looking forward to another successful event, hopefully with a much bigger crowd. The theme for 2018 will be “Healthy Lungs, Happy Life”. The month long celebration will commence on August 1, 2018 with a “Multisectoral Consensus on Asthma and COPD clinical pathway formulation”. This will include key medical societies that will discuss on creating simple clinical pathways on smoking cessation, asthma and COPD to be used in the Philippines. This will be followed by different activities of the chapters of our College in the different parts of the country from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The aim is to highlight the common lung diseases or diagnostic tests like COPD, Lung Cancer, Asthma, Smoking Cessation or Spirometry . The activities may be in the form of lay fora, screening, video presentation, media interviews or educational posters in your institution or community on the above mentioned lung diseases.
The culminating event will involve all pulmonary fellowship training institutions in Metro Manila on August 26, 2018 at 5:30 in the morning to be held at QC Memorial Circle. This will include a Zumba activity and a mini health fair exhibit by each institution focusing on education, screening and prevention of common pulmonary diseases.
It is with great hope that our work in advocacy and our community outreach programs will help the Filipino community achieve healthier lungs, improve general health and well-being, and eventually reduce prevalence of morbidity and mortality from lung diseases.
PCCP for Healthy Lung s! Galing Lungs!
“We hope that our work in advocacy and our community outreach programs will help the Filipino community achieve healthier lungs, improve general health and well-being, and eventually reduce prevalence of morbifity and mortality from lung diseases”
Aug 2018 Health and Lifestyle