ISLAMABAD: Around 0.42 million people develop active tuberculosis (TB) each year in Pakistan with 65 per cent of the cases being detected.
According to a data, the remaining 35 per cent TB patients remain undiagnosed.
Pakistan is ranked 5th among 22 high TB burden countries in the world. Research shows that two thirds of TB patients die if not treated in the initial two to three years.
Similarly, such patients, who remain untreated, transfer the disease to 10 individuals in a year.
Heath expert Dr Sobia Faisal said that delay in TB diagnosis and inappropriate treatment result in mortality and long time morbidity.
In Pakistan, the National TB Control Programme is implementing the WHO recommended DOTS strategy by providing diagnostic and treatment services including free medicines to all TB patients at government health facilities, she said.
Dr Sobia said that TB was curable and a person, who develops this, would be 100 per cent perfect and resume normal if he/she undertakes proper medication.
She said that people with consistent cough, tiredness, weight loss, loss of appetite, low grade fever, coughing up blood and night sweats must consult doctors.
She said a TB patient is usually given a combination of several drugs for a specific period of time which depends on the type of TB and its resistance to drugs. The patient will probably begin to feel better only a few weeks after starting to take the drugs. It is very important that the patient continue to take medicines regularly.
Medical expert Dr Wasim Khawaja from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said if the medicine is taken incorrectly or stopped the patient may become sick again and the disease can become drug resistant.
He said multidrug resistant TB is very dangerous, so patients should be sure that they take all correct medicines.
Dr Wasim said regular checkups were needed to see the recovery progress. He said it was also important both for people undergoing preventive therapy and being treated for TB to let a doctor know if begin having any unusual symptoms.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2014.
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