TB prevalence may be falling in Pakistan: FAFEN

Punjab reported to be most TB-concentrated region.


Express August 22, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


Six hundred and sixty-three confirmed new cases of Tuberculosis were reported in May 2011 across Pakistan, which is the lowest recorded number since November 2010, according to the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen).


In a report released on Sunday, the advocacy group says that 66% of the cases were reported in Gujranwala district which makes Punjab the most TB-concentrated region in Pakistan.

The monitors, who received disease statistics from 51 health offices nationwide, collected data from 22 executive district officers for health in Punjab, 12 in Sindh, eight in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and six in Balochistan. They also gathered information from the office of the Agency Surgeon Health in Fata and the Health Management Information System in Islamabad Capital Territory.

However, the report says, health offices in Punjab reported more diseases mainly because of higher population and greater outreach in the province.

Maternal mortality

Sahiwal district, also in Punjab, reports the highest number of maternal, infant and child mortality cases.

In May 2011, Fafen says, six cases of maternal mortality, 159 of infant mortality and 134 of child mortality were reported in the health office in Sahiwal district.

Common diseases

Among the diseases reported across the country, including gastrointestinal infections and scabies, the most commonly reported diseases were acute respiratory infections. In 51 districts, 739,607 cases were reported.

Gastrointestinal infections were the second most prevalent diseases as 437,515 cases were reported in May 2011. Diarrhoea and dysentery were the third most prevalent diseases with a total of 374,979 cases being reported. As many as 62,536 cases of gastroenteritis were reported, making it the fourth-most commonly reported disease.

The report says that diarrhoea, dysentery and gastroenteritis can be controlled through proper hygiene and sanitation which makes it a cause for concern that these infections make up such a large proportion of disease statistics.

The overall number of diseases in the country is expected to be much higher, the report cautions, as the record only pertains to 51 of the country’s 119 districts, which accounts for only 43% of the health offices nationwide.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd,  2011.

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