ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranks sixth globally among the 22 high tuberculosis risk countries, contributing 43 per cent of the disease towards the Eastern-Mediterranean region, World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 people in Pakistan is 181 cases per year with a treatment success rate of 85%. An estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB. The WHO is working on its plan to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015.
Official sources said more than 700,000 TB patients have been treated free of cost and 100 per cent latest treatment methodology of DOTS coverage is achieved in the country. They said training and health education materials have been developed and all concerned health care providers have been trained. External quality assurance for sputum microscopy is implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories have been established including one at federal level and one each at provincial level.
Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said 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 the active respiratory disease.
Dr Astori said in healthy people, the infection often produces 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 with blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
The FGPC medic added that tuberculosis is treatable through a six-month course of antibiotics.