A participant plays the lung maze game, which teaches the importance of finishing TB treatment. This and other games were conceived by URC for a recent launch event of the TB Platforms Project. Photo credit: URC

The Philippines is one of 30 countries with the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB), with a national incidence rate of 554 cases per 100,000 people. Approximately 1 million Filipinos have TB and may or may not know they have the disease. Those with TB-suggestive symptoms often do not seek diagnosis or treatment due to the stigma associated with TB.

The newly launched URC-led TB Platforms for Sustainable Treatment, Detection, and Care (TB Platforms) Project aims to find and cure more TB cases in the country by supporting the Department of Health’s National TB Control Program and local government units to enhance prevention and treatment. Using evidence-based, data-driven approaches, and technology, TB Platforms will engage changemakers at the individual, community, provincial, and regional levels to promote positive health-seeking and TB prevention behaviors.

To kick off the project, TB Platforms, along with another new project, TB Innovations, sponsored a lively and participatory health fiesta in Quezon City on Aug. 24. Philippines Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Michael Klecheski, and Mission Director Lawrence Hardy joined community residents in playing games focused on increasing awareness and knowledge of TB awareness.

In one of the games, Secretary Duque threw balls at images of the TB bacteria. A lung maze game taught players the importance of completing treatment. Participants completed puzzles of famous celebrities who had TB. Prizes included hygiene kits. TB Platforms staff helped develop these informative and interactive games.

The event, which coincided with National Lung Month, drew more than 500 people and included free TB screenings to teach participants how to maintain healthy lungs. The five-year TB Platforms project will intensify and accelerate efforts to support the Philippines’ goal of ending TB.

Video of the health fiesta in Quezon City