World Tuberculosis Day: Pakistan ranks sixth among TB-hit countries

50,000 cases emerge in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa every year.


Our Correspondent March 20, 2012

PESHAWAR: Despite the presence of national anti-Tuberculosis programme, Pakistan ranks sixth in the world among TB-hit countries.

The figure was brought forth at a ceremony held in connection with the World Tuberculosis Day on Tuesday at the Peshawar Press Club.

Participants spoke about the prevalence and spread of TB in the country, with particular emphasis on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where as many as 50,000 cases emerge every year.

“Free-of-cost diagnostic and treatment services are being provided to patients at 220 basic management units (BMUs) and 806 functional treatment centres across the province,” Dr Ubaid Hussain, director of the TB Control Programme, said.

“About 37 of the BMUs are working in the non-public sector, which is a successful step towards public-private partnership,” he pointed out. A provincial TB laboratory had been set up at the Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, he said.

In 2011, the TB control programme trained 238 doctors and 617 other paramedical staff and laboratory technicians across the province, Dr Hussain said.

With support from the National TB Control Programme, the provincial programme also held a meeting with a delegation of TB specialists from Afghanistan to extend standardised treatment to patients from both countries, he said.

Meanwhile, an official communiqué said that more than 257,500 TB patients had been treated free of cost between 2002 and 2011 throughout the province.

It also said that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Health Department, in collaboration with the German government, is working to extend technical and financial support to the programme and establish a provincial TB Reference Laboratory.

Currently the multi-drug-resistant (MDR)-TB patients are treated at the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, and the facility will be extended to other tertiary care hospitals of the province as well.

“In 2011, 350 MDR-TB patients were registered for treatment and 80 patients were treated while the rest are under treatment,” it said.

The statement said the recovery ratio of TB patients in Pakistan is 93%.

“Authorities have started a programme to provide the private sector cost-free medicine and a counter cell will also be established to check and stop sale of TB medicine in the market,” it said.

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