ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranks sixth globally among the 22 high tuberculosis risk countries, contributing 43% of the disease towards the Eastern-Mediterranean region of World HealthOrganization (WHO).
According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 population in Pakistan is 181, case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85%.
Official sources said more than 700,000 TB patients have been treated free of charge and 100% latest treatment methodology of DOTS coverage is achieved in the country. They said training and health education materials have been developed and all health care providers concerned have been trained. 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. They said an estimated one-third of the world's population is currently infected with TB.
The World Health Organization is working on its plan to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015, they added.
Dr Sharif Astori of the Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC), said TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacteriumtuberculosis, 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 the active respiratory disease. He said in healthy people, infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person's immune system acts to wall off the bacteria. He said the symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. He added tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.
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