Tuberculosis in Selected Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (DATRCs) in Luzon, Philippines
Background and Objectives. Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a public health concern in the Philippines. Vulnerable
populations in congregate settings such as drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers (DATRCs) have higher
risks of TB transmission and infection. With the Duterte administration’s intensified campaign against illegal
drugs, government-retained DATRCs are filled to capacity. There is an identified need to profile drug users and
dependents living in DATRCs. Furthermore, national guidelines for TB management specific to this population is
absent. A study was conducted to determine the profile of admitted clients diagnosed with TB, TB prevalence,
treatment outcomes and choice of TB diagnostic modalities in six (6) Luzon-based DATRCs from 2013-2015.
Methods. All medical records of drug users admitted in this period were reviewed. Information on the total
patient census was sought from DATRC heads and used to compute for prevalence.
Results. A total of 347 records were obtained. Overall TB prevalence in the study sites was 7,216 per 100,000
population. The typical individual diagnosed with TB in a DATRC was male, with a mean age of 35 years, with at least
high school education, and unemployed. Weight loss and fatigue were the most common symptoms reported. The
majority (79.83%) completed TB treatment in the DATRCs. Sputum microscopy and chest x-ray were both used for
TB diagnosis in 92.80% (322) of the cases.
Conclusion. The high burden of TB in Luzon-based, government-retained DATRCs is alarming and underscore
the critical need for standards and guidelines in the National Tuberculosis Control Program addressing the unique
context of these facilities.