ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranks sixth globally among the 22 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries, contributing 43 percent of the disease towards the Eastern-Mediterranean region of World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 in Pakistan is 181, case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85 percent.
An estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB due to which WHO is working on its plan to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths to half by 2015.
More than 700,000 TB patients were treated free of cost while 100% coverage of WHO-recommended treatment strategy for detection and cure known as Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) is achieved in Pakistan, official sources said.
The government has set up 982 microscopy centres throughout the country to provide free of cost diagnostic facility of TB, official sources said. They said external quality assurance for sputum microscopy is implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories have been established, one at federal level and one each at provincial level.
Dr Wasim Khawja of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences(PIMS) said that TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. He added the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with active respiratory disease.
Khawja also said that the infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms in healthy people, since the person’s immune system prevents bacteria from spreading.
He said the symptoms of active TB are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. He further added that TB is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.
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