MANDALUYONG, PHILIPPINES. In celebration of National Lung Month, Innovations for Community Health launched Oks Ka Lungs?–a video series where experts were invited to talk about tuberculosis. The three-part event was graced by renowned experts in social epidemiology, patient support, and community, rights, gender-related issues.
Caption: Oks Ka Lungs? is a play on the Filipino phrase “Okay ka lang?” which translates to “Are you okay?” in English
InnovationsCH opened the series with Ms. Louie Zepeda-Teng, the Founder of TBPeople Philippines Organization Inc., as she shared her personal story of living with tuberculosis and how this eventually fueled her advocacy. She talked about her difficulty in navigating the health system when she was diagnosed with TB, and how she hopes for a day that patients would no longer face that burden.
“I am legally blind after I caught TB and it reached my brain. It looked like there’s a mission to champion what we believe needs to change in our country.” – Ms. Louie Zepeda-Teng
Dr. Niña Castillo-Carandang, a health social scientist from the University of the Philippines Manila, continued the conversation in the second episode as she talked about TB advocacy and commitments made towards ending TB. The discussion revolved around stigma and how it affects one’s willingness to seek help for TB.
“Seeking care for TB is an act of love–love for yourself, love for your fellowmen. It’s an act of solidarity!” – Dr. Niña Castillo-Carandang
Finally, InnovationsCH ended the series with Atty. James Malar–a human rights lawyer from the Stop TB Partnership based in Geneva, Switzerland. He shared his experience working with people affected by TB and how the STP has been advocating for community-led monitoring to empower those affected by the disease and hold policymakers and governments accountable for their commitment to end TB.
“TB response directly impacts the individual, the family, the workplace, and the community. If we want to design effective services, we need to include people’s inputs. We need to remove any barriers that they might experience.” – Atty. James Malar
Although the celebration for National Lung Month 2021 has officially come to an end, the public may still watch the Oks Ka Lungs? series via InnovationsCH’s youtube channel. Watch it, share it, start the discussion! There is never a bad day to advocate for people with and affected by TB.