HEALTH MOBILE SERVICES. Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr. (center), chief of the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), accepts the commuter van from Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. (left) on Monday (Sept. 5, 2022) for the use of the IPHO’s mobile health services in communities. With them is Infectious Diseases Program Coordinator John Arlo Codilla (right). (Photo courtesy of IPHO South Cotabato)

KORONADAL CITY – At least 810 tuberculosis (TB) and 34 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases have been tallied in South Cotabato since April this year, a provincial health official said Tuesday.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO), said the patients found positive for TB were among the 4,200 individuals from 55 barangays in the province who availed of their mobile health services in the last five months.

“We have already linked the TB patients to the treatment facilities, and now they are being treated,” Aturdido said.

Instead of collecting sputum, he said the mobile team of IPHO is using the more convenient mobile X-ray machine in detecting TB cases.

He noted that the IPHO team found it difficult to convince villagers to submit sputum samples for TB testing.

“To remedy the problem, we are utilizing the mobile X-ray machine to detect more TB cases in the barangays,” he said.

The mobile health services of South Cotabato resumed their operation in April following the dwindling of coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the province.

Aside from TB testing, the program also offers free testing for HIV and leprosy, among others, especially in far-flung communities.

Aturdido said at least 1,000 individuals from 20 of 199 barangays in South Cotabato had availed their mobile HIV testing,

“Out of the total number who underwent HIV testing, 34 were found to be reactive from the disease. This does not include the hot spot areas that our team is visiting during nighttime,” Aturdido said.

The provincial government had established the AIDS Core Team (HACT) Clinic that provides one-stop-shop treatment care and counseling services for HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) patients.

To cover more barangays, Aturdido said the provincial government has purchased and turned over to them Monday a commuter van for use of the IPHO in its mobile TB-HIV monitoring services. (PNA)