DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. STRENGTHENS ITS TUBERCULOSIS TREATMENT PROGRAM FOR PHILIPPINE EMPLOYEES
Westlake Village, CA - January 11, 2007
Dole Food Company, Inc. today announced that it will strengthen its widely successful Tuberculosis (TB) initiative in 2007 at the company's two Philippine divisions, Dole Packaged Foods-Dolefil and Dole Fresh Fruit-Stanfilco. The program, TB-DOTS seeks to raise awareness about TB among Dole Philippines employees and their communities, correct misconceptions about the disease, reduce its stigma, and treat those inflicted with the disease.
TB-DOTS, which stands for Tuberculosis Directly Observed Treatment Short-course, is a highly effective strategy recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippines' Department of Health to ensure the treatment and cure of patients affected by TB. The program has five core components: 1) Political or management commitment; 2) TB diagnosis through sputum microscopy; 3) Availability of complete and quality anti-TB drugs; 4) Supervised treatment and 5) Recording and reporting of cases and outcomes.
Stanfilco was the first company in Mindanao to formally implement a TB-DOTS program and comply with the newly-signed Department of Labor and Employment guidelines on TB in the workplace, followed closely by Dolefil. Since the program's inception in 2004, Stanfilco has educated over 3,000 employees, their families and the surrounding communities on TB awareness. At present, Stanfilco is working towards gaining accreditation for its clinics as TB-DOTS centers so they are able to obtain free medicines from the government for their TB patients.
Filemon Sanchez, Human Resources Manager of Stanfilco, stated, "A thousand people have been trained to be TB-DOTS educators and advocates. This includes our company nurses, associates and doctors. As a result of our efforts, about 100 cases have been successfully treated out of 400 referrals."
Dolefil, who prior to the formal TB-DOTS program has long promoted a TB-free workplace, has been able to identify and assist 70 employees inflicted with the disease. Of the 70 employees, 39 have made a fully recovery and 31 employees are still undergoing treatment. Kevin Davis, Vice President and Managing Director of Dolefil, stated, "We share the vision of a TB-free Philippines and we are very pleased to be in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment in its effort to eradicate tuberculosis in the workplace, and eventually in the country."
Tuberculosis is a curable disease but remains one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines. Seventy-five Filipinos die of TB every day, most of them in the wage-earning years of their lives. If untreated, a person with TB can transmit the bacteria to 10 to 15 close contacts in a year, wherein one can develop the infection into TB disease.
Dole Food Company, Inc, with 2005 revenues of $5.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers. Dole markets a growing line of packaged foods and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends" and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises and security risks in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.