Social stigma: Public awareness can help prevent TB spread, Saira Afzal

World TB Day will be commemorated on March 24.


Our Correspondent March 22, 2016
Saira Afzal Tarar. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Tuberculosis carries a social stigma, which is a major obstacle to its treatment. Public education and creating mass awareness about TB could help prevent spread of the disease.

National Health Services Regulation and Coordination (NHSRC) Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said this at seminar organised by the National TB Control Programme, to commemorate the upcoming World TB Day, here on Tuesday.

The World TB Day is observed on March 24 every year.

“World TB Day is an occasion to urge action to eradicate this disease, which still kills an appalling number of people every day,” Tarar said.

She said that the Pakistan was among the five countries of the world where incidence of TB was among the highest.

The minister said that the key to controlling TB was to raise awareness about its symptoms and encourage patients to seek treatment, which was available free of cost.“Patients should follow the full course of medication for the prescribed period,” she stressed.

Tarar admitted that the level of information about TB symptoms and its treatment in the country was low. “I believe that we as a nation can help in dissemination of information regarding tuberculosis among our communities. By doing so, we can help save lives of thousands of people who die of TB every year,” she said.

The minister also appreciated the efforts of the National TB Control Program in the fight against the disease.

Tarar said that she was very confident about the capabilities of the team leader.

She said that during 2015 three million TB cases were diagnosed and treated with quality drugs.

The minister said that 8,006 patients enrolled on quality assured second line anti-TB drugs till end of December 2015 out of which 3,994 were currently under treatment.

She said that 17 treatment sites were upgraded to address infection control.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2016.

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