Monday, March 18, 2024



Families and beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) came together to share personal stories of battling tuberculosis (TB) in Empowering Families Against Tuberculosis: Success Stories and Insights from the Implementation of Family Development Session on TB Awareness, an event organized by the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s TB Innovations and Health Systems Strengthening Project (TB IHSS) implemented by FHI 360. 

Representatives from the DSWD and the USAID also attended the event held at the Luxent Hotel in Quezon City last March 14 to discuss the wins and learnings from the implementation of Family Development Session (FDS).

One such triumph is the story of the Arimado family. When her daughter Lhian started to experience daily weight loss, frequent chills, and occasional vomiting, market vendor Cecilia Arimado knew something was wrong. During her pre-graduation photoshoot, Lhian suddenly felt weak and unable to stand. Cecilia took her to a clinic in Legazpi, Albay where she was later referred to a health center for further evaluation. There, Lhian received a diagnosis of TB. 

However, it was only through FDS, one of the key components in the implementation of the 4Ps, that Lhian was able to start taking her medications. 

“Ang FDS ang nagbigay daan para sa paggaling ng aking anak (FDS was the key towards the healing of my daughter),” Cecilia said. “Pinagkalooban nila ang aming anak ng mga gamot at bitamina at tinuruan kung paano maalagaan ang aming sarili at ang mga kamag-anak na may tuberculosis. (They gave her medicines and vitamins, and they taught us how to better care for ourselves and for others).” 

Tuberculosis remains a global concern, according to Secretary of Health Teodoro J. Herbosa. 

“TB is a public health emergency and needs concerted action from all stakeholders. We’ve made notable progress in the fight against TB, including finding 2.1 million people with TB,” he said. 

FDS, a continuing education program conducted nationwide, is regarded as an important intervention to fulfill the family development thrust of the 4Ps. It also serves as an arm to strengthen the agency’s capacity to fulfill its role of investing in the human capital of families and children. 

Similar to the Arimados, the story of the Betser family in Zamboanga Sibugay mirrors the initial struggles of many. Despite facing TB in three family members – son Lloyd Vincent, husband Bernard, and daughter Leah – limited income led them to try faith healing and self-medication initially. The wife Arlyn, who was earning P4,000 a month from her job as household help, felt immense pressure during that challenging time. 

Through FDS, they learned the importance of knowing the early symptoms, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment. More importantly, they realized that self-medication could worsen the situation and that seeking professional help is essential. 

After her family recovered, Arlyn requested for a special FDS to be conducted among her co-4Ps beneficiaries in their area. Arlyn shared her story so others like her would learn. 

“Napakalaking tulong ang FDS sa amin dahil nalaman ko kung paano magamot ang TB, paano maiiwasan, at ano ang gagawin para hindi makahawa sa iba (FDS is a big help because we learned how to cure TB, how to prevent it, and how to curb its spread),” she said. 

FDS strengthens the capacities of the family members, particularly the parents, to become more responsive to the needs of the family and their children, to become more socially aware, and to be involved and participative in community development activities. 

“FDS sessions have emerged as a valuable strategy for raising TB awareness within family units, fostering behavioral changes, reducing stigma, promoting community engagement, and ensuring long-term impact in the fight against TB,” said Vilma Cabrera, DSWD Undersecretary for National Household Targeting System (NHTO) and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. 

Usec. Cabrera explained that the campaign’s success hinged on several key approaches: community engagement, family-centered interventions, health education and awareness, behavior change communication, multi-sectoral collaboration, and empowerment and capacity building. 


However, implementing these sessions wasn't without hurdles. The DSWD official acknowledged challenges like limited access to remote areas, stigma, limited resources, and vulnerabilities in the healthcare system. However, through the deployment of mobile health clinics, training of community health workers, establishment of support groups, and numerous partnerships, the agency was able to overcome challenges and achieve its goal of empowering communities against TB. 

Looking forward, Usec. Cabrera further noted the campaign’s long-term potential through sustained community engagement and ongoing family support. Key measures for future success include long-term sustainability, training and capacity building, technology integration, use of digital platforms, community engagement, and continued partnerships and collaboration.

"By implementing these measures, we can ensure sustained community engagement and ongoing support for families beyond the immediate campaign period, maximizing our long-term impact on TB control and prevention,” she concluded. 

For more information about TB, visit The website includes an online self-assessment ( tool to help with TB identification and treatment. It can also be used to check for suspected TB, and locate the nearest health facility. is part of DOH's local communication campaign, Para Healthy Lungs and KonsulTayo, which are supported by USAID's TB Innovations and Health Systems Project (TBIHSS). It aims to raise tuberculosis as a public health priority in the country using social and conventional media methods. 

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