Tuberculosis is a condition caused by Myobacterium tuberculosis, which is acquired by inhalation of droplets containing the said tubercle bacili. Tuberculosis is an airborne disease that is still very apparent in the Philippines – making it still one of the deadliest disease in the country, although cases and deaths due to Tuberculosis was reduced by more than 50% from the 1990 baseline (DOH, 2015). Infectious droplets of this tubercle bacili can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or talking.
A lot of initiatives has been started for the help in the lowering the cases of Tuberculosis in the country. One of which is through the National TB Program that helped the country achieve a global target of 70% in detecting cases of new smear positive Tuberculosis cases, and 89% of these cases were successfully addressed and treated. (DOH, 2015)
However, there are new emerging concerns that still presses this issue to be apparent in the country, putting emphasis on concerns of drug resistance, and lack of education and awareness among infected individuals, and those who are not infected to eradicate stigma and discrimination.
In the interest of our government to reduce by half TB prevalence and mortality compared to 1990 figures by 2015, and for the country to be TB-free, the initiatives done aren’t patterned or designed yet in such a way that the value of communication technology in promoting development objectives will be apparent.
In 2002, mobile subscribers overtook fixed line subscribers worldwide and this occurred across geographic regions, socio-demographic criteria (gender, income, age) or economic criteria (Kaplan, 2016), and it is about time that a disruptive technology take over this scene, and aid in the eradication of Tuberculosis in the country.
In the present context, a formal definition of healthcare intervention is an activity that may happen between persons or events for the specific purpose of modifying some health-related outcome or act. Relating this in the intention of using mobile phones, interventions can actually be done through this powerful medium.
+B is an application I have carefully thought of to be a catalyst of eradicating stigma and discrimination of people when they hear TB or tuberculosis. The name idea came from some reference of studies of changing name must be accompanied by stigma to be forgotten which may lead to better collaboration in treatment, facilitate adherence in medication, and enable inclusion of those who are infected to be more confident in their community, and other social networks.
On top of having such name to erase stigma, this application will empower infected individuals or even those who are not, to be educated properly of the illness, and the course of treatment. This will also allow users to have visibility of his available resources around – like where the nearest DOTS clinic is or if he wishes to consult a private physician, where the nearest pulmonologist is. The application will also help to better the communication between patient and doctor, and allowing doctors to have visibility of their patient’s status on how the are taking the medication – by patient simply noting their intake in the application every time that they are taking the antibiotic. In this way, monitoring is not just done manually, and by how much medicines are left with the patient, but patients are empowered on monitoring their intake by themselves.
Another issue will be medication, and the patient’s compliance in regularly taking their medicine. Drug resistance is one of the leading causes why Tuberculosis is still apparent in our country, and with the help of +B, reminding patients will be easier as they can receive notification on when it is time to take their medication.