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Pakistan working hard for Tuberculosis Control

Islamabad, April 17, 2013 (PPI-OT): “Pakistan’s national and provincial mechanisms for the control of Tuberculosis is well performing but needs to go into the fifth gear with greater dedication and more sleepless nights in order to realize the vision of pre-TB elimination in the country during our lifetimes”, these views were expressed by Dr Mohamed Abdel Aziz WHO’s Regional Adviser on Stop Tuberculosis for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) while addressing a meeting of national, provincial and regional managers of Tuberculosis control in Pakistan at a meeting here today.

Dr Aziz who is heading a mission to Pakistan stressed that the programmes were working under highly challenging conditions including security problems in KP, Balochistan and FATA and grappling with the huge TB burden in Punjab and Sindh but they were doing very well under the circumstances. He added that as Pakistan accounted for 60% of the Regional TB burden in the country, its success or failure in combating the disease would translate into the region’s success or failure.

Earlier the national, provincial and regional programmes gave their presentations and highlighted their successes and challenges. Dr Aziz praised the program for having an over 90% treatment success rate and a gradually increasing case detection rate; however, there was a need to tap the private sector more in order to detect more cases.

He particularly appreciated the province of Sindh for attracting a large number of national and international partners. He pointed out that WHO would be organizing a review mission of the program in November 2013.

Dr Ejaz Qadeer, National TB Control Program Manager described WHO as a strategic technical and highly supportive partner for operational research and advocacy purposes, which was vital for the program. He appreciated the WHO-HQ, WHO-EMRO and WHO Country Office for their consistent support. Mr Wasiq Khan WHO-EMRO, Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi and Dr Salem Barghout of WHO Pakistan, Dr Ismet Ara Director TB Control Program Sindh, Dr Ghulam Murtaza Shah Manager TB Control Balochistan, Dr Hussain Hadi representing Mercy Corps and Dr Khalid Farough of GreenStar Marketing also expressed their views.

The Mission later met with Dr Ni’ma Saeed Abid, Acting WHO Representative in Pakistan and exchanged views of mutual interest. Dr Abid pledged his unflinching support to the program as Tuberculosis was causing such a lot of morbidity and mortality in Pakistan and acting as an impediment in the country’s economic development.

He was confident of the national ownership and commitment for the program leading to enormous public health gains over the last 12-13 years since it was rejuvenated. The Mission will leave for Lahore tomorrow and is scheduled to call on the Secretary Ministry of Interprovincial Coordination on Friday.

For more information, contact:
Shahzad Alam Khan
Information and Communication Officer
World Health Organization (WHO) Pakistan
Phone: +92 51 925 5075, +92 51 925 5077, +92 51 925 5184, +92 51 925 5185
Fax: +92 51 925 5083
Email: wr@whopak.org

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