Saira Afzal emphasises for creating awareness among masses to rid Pakistan of TB disease

Says Govt providing free diagnostic and treatment facilities

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar has said that TB is a curable disease and there is a need to create awareness among the masses at the gross root level to rid Pakistan of one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases.

Speaking at a function held here Wednesday in connection with “World TB Day” , the Minister of State said the government is providing free TB diagnostic and treatment facilities in all public and selected private health facilities with a view to ensure universal access to TB cure in Pakistan.

She said TB is hundred percent curable ailment and those people who are suffering from this disease should not shy away from timely diagnosing it to get rid of this dangerous disease. She pointed out that some people get frustrated of the lengthy treatment and leave it midway and start using antibiotic medicines. She cautioned if they continued with this practice, the TB medicines would not be effective. Therefore she emphasised that uninterrupted treatment is essential for control of TB disease. She said that WHO was taking steps for banning antibiotic medicines.

Saira Afzal Tarar expressed satisfaction over reduction in the number of TB patients and deaths related to the disease.  She said under the National TB Control Programme, the government takes steps to control the disease and provincial governments are also being supported in this direction.

The Minister of State said that the TB Control Programme was going on successfully and digital X-Ray machines have also been imported.

She also said that there has been better coverage of anti polio immunisation campaign and less polio cases have been reported this year when compared to the past.

Manager, National TB Control Programme Dr Ijaz Qadeer told the gathering that TB diagnostic and treatment facilities are being provided at more than 5000 district and tehsil headquarters hospitals, basic and rural health centres and selected private clinics.

He said under 2020 vision, the present government is committed to bring down the deaths from TB to zero level and pointed out that already there has been ten percent annual reduction in TB patients which is in line with international trend.  He informed the audience that TB disease is now diagnosed through modern technology and Pakistan is placed at number five relating to TB disease.  He was confident that by 2025, the country would be able to control TB disease by 50% percent as compared to 2012.

Dr Ijaz Qadeer advised the people to get their tests free of charge at the Laboratories and a patient can recover from the TB disease with six months continuous treatment.  He said according to WHO about one third of world population is suffering from this deadly disease and most of the patients are in developed countries.

Dr Qutubuddin Kakar said the WHO was cooperating with Pakistan under TB Control programme like in other parts of the world. He said a WHO delegation would visit Pakistan from 3rd May to review the 2020 Vision programme and offer its assessment, recommendations and technical assistance.

INP

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