JICA-DOH cooperation takes TB diagnosis in PH to new heights using AI tech


An Artificial Intelligence-assisted (AI) Computer Aided Detection (CAD) by Japanese technology that speeds up Tuberculosis (TB) detection in seconds has taken TB diagnosis and prevention in the Philippines to new heights.

The introduction of innovative technology in the systematic screening, and rapid diagnosis of TB is part of a cooperation between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and National TB Control Program of the Department of Health (DOH). It has brought a significant impact in addressing the problem of undetected TB cases in the country.

The Philippines has the highest TB incidence in the world, and deaths from this disease in 2020 alone has reached 31,000.

This initiative, which concluded in July, was piloted in Muntinlupa in partnership with the local government and Putatan Health Center. The partnership yielded successful outcomes and impressive results including identifying nearly 400 TB suspects at the local level. Out of the 382 TB suspects detected by CAD, 32 were interpreted by the radiologist to have Pulmonary TB. Thanks to this project, many patients were detected at very earlier stages and initiated to treatment.

"With additional studies, this technology can really help LGUs improve coverage of Tuberculosis screening by decreasing turnaround time for the results and initiation of treatment. The challenge of ending TB is huge and the government cannot do it alone. We are grateful for JICA for sharing this technology with us and Putatan Health Center," said Dr. Charisse Malbacias, Medical Officer IV of DOH – Disease Prevention and Control Bureau (DPCB).

The Japanese company Fujifilm, under this JICA’s cooperation program, brought its unique technology to the Philippines making significant contributions to TB case finding activities in different areas throughout the Philippines.

JICA has been enthusiastic on introducing innovations and new technology in its Official Development Assistance (ODA) as a win-win approach in attracting investors to the Philippines, expanding Japanese businesses, and addressing development problems.

The cooperation with DOH on TB prevention makes strategic sense for local government units aspiring to promote health access to all. In Muntinlupa, the project helped strengthen tracking of TB cases, capacity development of local health workers on new technology, and establishing a model TB care system that takes care of screening up to TB treatment.

JICA will continue to work on TB and other infectious diseases by capacitating the regional, sub-national and national laboratories on genomic sequencing and surveillance, laboratory data analytics and strengthening laboratory network.

JICA’s cooperation in the Philippine health sector showed that new Japanese technology has the most potential to overcome health bottlenecks and expand access to quality healthcare. Some other JICA projects to this end include rapid rabies detection technology and logistics for Covid-19 response and recovery.

group photo

TB Care project wrap up seminar with JICA, National TB Control Program of the DOH, and Muntinlupa LGU.

TB Care project wrap up seminar with JICA, National TB Control Program of the DOH, and Muntinlupa LGU.

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