Addressing the challenge of tuberculosis (TB) has been a major area of focus for the Philippines over the past few decades, with significant progress having been made in improving pharmaceutical management and increasing the availability of laboratory diagnostics. However, ensuring the continuous availability of safe TB medicines and diagnostics across all of the nation’s 7,107 islands remains a challenge. The USAID-funded SIAPS Program aims to reduce the burden of TB disease through a systems-strengthening approach that focuses on improving laboratory and pharmaceutical systems to better diagnose and treat TB cases.
SIAPS is helping the Department of Health (DOH) and its partners to improve the laboratory network, maximize the efficiency of supply chain processes, and strengthen information and regulatory systems, including pharmacovigilance. The SIAPS approach puts sustainability at the forefront, focusing on building local capacity to support all aspects of the pharmaceutical system. SIAPS has successfully supported partners in the Philippines to achieve major milestones, including:
- Helping the National TB Program (NTP) and National TB Reference Library (NTRL) to update the Philippines Strategic Plan for TB Control (PhilPACT), including the laboratory network strategic plan.
- Assisting NTRL units in developing action plans outlining the scale up of laboratory services and new TB diagnostics.
- Enhancing the NTRL’s organizational structure through an assessment of the human resource capacity across the laboratory network.
- Supporting the NTP in strengthening systems for planning, forecasting and quantifying the annual requirement of drug-resistant TB medicines and laboratory supplies. This included expanding quantification support to include DOTS kits for adults and children, assessing TB supply chain management, and proposing options for improving the performance of the system.
- Developing a local governance model (the Barangay Health Management Council) to build local capacity in supply chain management.
Over the last program year, SIAPS-Philippines will continue to improve NTP systems for laboratory services, pharmaceutical services, and case management through the PV system to ensure safe medicines use. This focus on strengthening health systems will contribute to the reduction of TB mortality, morbidity, and transmission rates, ultimately leading to better control of TB in the country.