Johnson & Johnson (Philippines) Inc. (J&J) and the Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Public Health (CPH), University of the Philippines-Manila, SEAMEO Tropmed Philippines have partnered together to launch the Tuberculosis (TB) Academy, an online learning platform aimed to further the education of Filipino healthcare practitioners and specialists in treating Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The TB Academy is a project spearheaded by the Union, a global scientific organization which aims to improve the health of populations in low and middle-income countries, in partnership with J&J Global Public Health.

Its roll-out in the Philippines will be done through the collaboration between J&J and UP-CPH from November 2020 up to June 2021; aiming to strengthen clinician’s capacity in clinical and programmatic management of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2020 Global Tuberculosis Report, the Philippines makes up 6% of the total estimated cases of TB worldwide and is one of the top 30 countries with the highest number of MDR-TB cases. 

In 2019, the Department of Health set a target of finding and treating 2.5 million Filipino TB patients by 2022, coinciding with the WHO’s goal of ending TB by 2030 worldwide.

J&J Philippines Head of Medical Affairs Dr. Erwin Benedicto shared that the program will consist of three training levels and will be deployed via live and on-demand webinars.

He expounded that these three training levels will cater to 1) clinical officers and nurses, 2) clinicians, and 3) DR-TB Experts, respectively. Each of which will consist of knowledge and skill sharing sessions on effective management of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis cases, capacity-building exercises for programmatic management of DR-TB, and cascade of operational research findings on modified oral short treatment regimens. 

Participants who complete all sessions and modules will also be given certifications from the Union, Dr. Benedicto added.

“The fight to end tuberculosis in the Philippines has been long, but it is not hopeless,” said Dr. Vicente Belizario, Dean and Center Director, College of Public Health, University of the Philippines-Manila, SEAMEO Tropmed Philippines. “This collaboration between our two organizations is integral for us at this time, as we strengthen our healthcare workers’ capabilities and continue to educate the public about available treatment options for our TB patients, all in support of the National Tuberculosis Program of the Department of Health.”.” 

In September 2018, Johnson & Johnson announced its 10-year initiative to help end tuberculosis around the world, focusing on expanding access to treatment, improving detection, supporting health systems respond to cases, and accelerating TB research and development.  

J&J Philippines President and Managing Director Raghu Krishnan shared, “As advocates and partners of the local healthcare industry, we will never cease to find ways in which we can put our Credo into practice. In every way that we can, we will continue to extend our expertise and support to our doctors and patients that we may collectively end the long fight against tuberculosis.”

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