KARACHI: With over 120,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB) having been reported across Sindh, health authorities have expressed concern over the rising incidence of the disease, especially in Badin, where every second person screened has tested positive for the disease.
Health department officials said that 60 per cent of the patients across the province were provided treatment and cured, while around 48,000 patients were missed and were not notified in the health system.
On Thursday, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho met officials of the health department and other agencies to chalk out a strategy regarding the multi-sectoral programme being launched next month to control the spread of TB in Badin.
Pechucho directed the officials to remove all the administrative hurdles in the programme with meaningful interaction among all stakeholders and partners.
Health Secretary Saeed Ahmed Awan briefed the participants that on the orders of the Sindh High Court, a multi-sectoral committee had already been set up under the chairmanship of the district deputy commissioner. He said that this committee would look after the TB control programme as well.
The meeting, jointly organised by the Stop TB Pakistan and the DOPASI Foundation, was attended by the National Coordinator for AIDS, TB and Malaria Dr Rana M Safdar, Health Director General Dr Masood Solangi, Badin Deputy Commissioner Hafeez Ahmed Siyal, officials of TB Control, Stop TB Pakistan, DOPASI Foundation, Mercy Corps, Indus Health Network, Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative, Sindh Rural Support Programme, Pfizer Pakistan, Aga Khan University, Pakistan Medical Association and others.
The minister asked the participants to support the health department in overcoming the menace, saying it will contribute to fulfill the international obligations of the country. She expressed her interest in integrating all health information systems of vertical programmes in the health department for decision-making process.
Dr Safdar assured the provincial health department that the federal government would extend all possible cooperation in the venture.
The meeting was also briefed about the overall situation in Badin and across the province.
Dr Karam Shah of Stop TB Pakistan advocated the use of social safety nets and poverty alleviation programs in support of TB patients to avoid any catastrophic expenditure. Badin DC Siyal called for greater involvement of private sector partners.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2019.