Caltex and QCHO train jeepney and bus drivers as volunteer TB treatment partners
To beat tuberculosis (TB), early detection and treatment are crucial. Fortunately, with the “Caltex Labanan ang TB, para Tsuper Healthy” TB awareness campaign, more than 10,000 jeepney and bus drivers plying Metro Manila are now TB aware and are pro-active fighters of this endemic disease.
Of these, at least 52 public transport drivers were trained by the Quezon City Health Dept. (QCHD) as volunteer TB treatment partners. As treatment partners, the drivers are qualified to teach colleagues the facts about the disease, dispel myths and encourage their siblings in the industry to seek medical assistance early, thereby helping stop the spread of TB. The driver-trainors also help in patient treatment by making sure medicines are taken daily. This effort will hopefully reduce the number of attrition cases which in turn lead to patients becoming more drug resistant – and more difficult and more expensive to cure.
To broaden the reach of this awareness campaign, Caltex uses a TB awareness bus where trainors can hold onboard seminars, distribute posters, flyers, stickers and promote the Caltex TB helpline (865-1010). The seminars focus on correcting common misconceptions, emphasize prevention, early detection and cure.
TB kills 75 Filipinos every day and is the sixth leading deadly disease in the country. Worldwide, the Philippines ranked as the 22nd country with the highest number of TB cases while it is second only to China in Western Pacific region (www.who,int/tb).
Dr. Antonieta V. Inumerable, head of QCHD, said, “We welcome and support the efforts of Caltex to eradicate TB in the country. QC has a large population that public transport workers serve. If we can raise the health of our drivers, then their passengers are protected as well from TB.” Aside from the training of driver volunteers, Dr. Inumerable has also pledged that QCHD will help monitor, report and test drivers referred by the campaign.
Prior to the awareness drive, Chevron donated US$5 million to fight TB in the Philippines. As a result, almost 8,175 service deliverers were educated in providing quality TB services. More than 6,144 health care providers were trained in community care and treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB were provided to about 1,778 patients who were no longer responding to first line anti-TB drugs. MDR treatment costs more than P200,000 for at least 18 months of treatment.
Through its Anti-TB Helpline 381-1010, Caltex also established a link between the public and free TB treatment facilities such as Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) centers. People who call the helpline are directed to the DOTS center nearest where they reside.
Peter Morris, country chairman of CPI, said, “Chevron places the highest priority on the health and safety of its people including customers and communities that host its facilities like Quezon City, home to more than 30 Caltex stations.”
The campaign had its pilot site in Makati and Manila where almost 5,000 jeepney drivers and their families where engaged. In QC, Caltex also partnered with bus companies that endorsed the campaign to their employees as part of their occupational safety program ordered by the Department of Labor. A growing number of bus companies are also showing the TB awareness video on their buses as they ply their routes along EDSA.
“This information drive highlights Caltex’s unwavering commitment to being a good partner focused on building productive, collaborative, trusting and beneficial relationships with customers and host communities,” adds Morris. Caltex is working with Department of Health, the QCHD, public transport groups, and other relevant agencies in this campaign.
Zeny Maranan, president of Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) and 1-UTAK partylist representative, said, “Caltex has always delivered good programs for public transport drivers like this health campaign. So I tell my drivers to always listen to Caltex and get tested for TB now if you love your families.”
Chevron Philippines Inc. is the marketer of high quality brand of Caltex fuel and lubricants.