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Digital adherence technology scale-up in the Philippines revs up

30 March 2023

With 6,000 smart pillboxes arriving very soon, and spurred by the strong interest that tuberculosis (TB) nurses showed during the two-day rollout training on digital adherence technology (DAT) held on 2324 March 2023, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is stepping up the training of 180 programmatic management of drug-resistant tuberculosis (PMDT) nurses and regional technical staff across the Philippines. PBSP, the principal recipient of the Global Fund (GF) TB grant in the Philippines (20212023), helms the expanded use of smart pillbox in nearly 200 PMDT facilities nationwide through the GF COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM).

Six batches of two-day DAT trainings will be conducted in April and May. About 90 PMDT nurses from the country’s big 3 regions – Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and Metro Manila – will have been trained to implement DAT when the first set of 3,000 smart pillboxes are distributed for use in May 2023.

The first 30 nurses who completed the first rollout training benefited from the implementation experience of the ASCENT Philippines technical team. The ASCENT-led training is part of KNCV TB Plus’s technical assistance to PBSP’s scaled-up use of DAT, specifically the smart pillbox. Subsequent trainings will be conducted – with ASCENT support – by four PBSP project officers and the Lung Center of the Philippines trainers’ team. These groups comprise the pool of trainers that the ASCENT in-country team trained on 21-22 March 2023. The trainers pool will be assisted by IT specialists of the Department of Health Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service who were trained by ASCENT in September 2022 in anticipation of DAT scale-up in the country.

Angelito Santiago, digital health technology officer of ASCENT Philippines, and Claris Fajardo, an IT specialist with the Department of Health Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, explain the features of the adherence platform.

PMDT nurses examine the features of the adherence platform displayed on a tablet.

Training participants work on the exercises (e.g., enrolling patients in smart pillbox, video-supported treatment, and 99DOTS) given as part of the DAT training.

Participating PMDT nurses inspect the parts of a smart pillbox guided by Ma. Cecilia Bag-ao (standing), one of the PBSP project officers who completed the trainers’ training facilitated by the ASCENT in-country team.


The Unitaid-funded and supported ASCENT project is led by KNCV TB Plus in partnership with The Aurum InstituteLondon School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and PATH.