Islamabad, March 25, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar reiterated that TB is a curable disease and Government of Pakistan is providing free of cost treatment services throughout Pakistan.
I urge people from all walks of life to help T.B. patients avail free treatment being provided by the Government, she said. She was addressing a seminar in connection with World T.B. Day which was observed on 24th March across Pakistan.
The Minister further said that Pakistan has the 5th highest incidence of T.B. in the world which remains a cause for serious concern. The key to controlling TB is to raise awareness about its symptoms and encourage patients to seek treatment which is available free of cost.
It must be ensured that patients follow the full course of medication for the prescribed period. Also, tuberculosis carries social stigma, which is a major obstacle to treatment. Public education and building awareness can help prevent spread of the disease.
She further added, the Government of Pakistan is making concerted efforts to control TB in Pakistan. More than 1.5 million TB patients have been diagnosed and treated free of cost with quality-assured anti TB drugs in both public and private sectors across the country through a network of 1500 quality assured microscopy centers and 4000 treatment centers. This network is expanding gradually to ensure accessibility of TB care services to every TB patient in Pakistan.
She said, Multi Drug Resistant T.B. is also a major challenge and the Government is providing specialized treatment to over 3,140 such patients at 18 treatment centers across Pakistan. I wish to highlight here that success rate of such treatment is very high due to top quality care and treatment provided to these patients, the minister further stated.
She underscored, special emphasis is also been laid on diagnosis and treatment of children with T.B. She said that, I am pleased to share that during last year 28,113 such children were provided free treatment facilities.
She said, Information Technology is also being increasingly used in the program and e-surveillance system is ensuring availability of case based online data of T.B. patients from all basic management units to district, provincial and federal level.
We must disseminate information regarding tuberculosis among our communities to help save lives of thousands of people who die of TB every year. The minister appreciated the efforts of the National TB Control Program in the fight against TB and said that she was confident about the capabilities of the program management.
The Minister further said that with the support of her colleagues, international and national organizations and all relevant stakeholders, we shall not only succeed in controlling tuberculosis but also reduce it to a level where it is no longer a threat to our peoples’ health.
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