Islamabad—State Minister for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar Tuesday said the government would continue to work together with global partners and local stakeholders to curb diseases of tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS and make more effective its ongoing immunization programmes. The minister was addressing a national seminar with stakeholders on World TB Day here. This year’s theme was “Unite to End TB”.
The minister assured the donors that every penny donated by them would be rightly spent on the treatment of patients. Things have improved a lot but more steps would be taken to improve running of disease control programs, she added.
She said legislation would be done to take private sector on board for combatting tuberculosis and other diseases.
A dashboard would be created at the ministry to gather authentic data on TB, she mentioned. She stressed on patients suffering from TB and other diseases to not relax and continue the follow ups so the germs could not develop resistance.
She urged the need for increasing awareness among the masses that the disease was treatable and patients were being provided free of charge diagnostic facilities and medicines. It is heartening to note that provinces are arranging their own funds for disease control programmes, she remarked.
The TB control facilities were available at district hospitals, rural health centers and basic health units, she noted. She said a time would come when Pakistan would have enough resources and international donors would not find Pakistan eligible for health programmes funding.
She congratulated the officers overseeing the National TB Control Program (NTP) for getting the achievement award by USAID in Washington DC recently in recognition of strong commitment and leadership to curb the growth of drug resistant TB. Pakistan ranked among the world’s top ten countries with high burdens of both TB and drug resistant TB and had considerably improved case detection and treatment services.
National Program Manager TB Control Dr Ejaz Qadeer said they detected 300,000 patients every year and 70 percent of them were successfully treated. He said every year estimated 500,000 to 600,000 people develop infections, adding TB is a deadly disease but it is curable. He said endorsing of the global control targets by the government demonstrated Pakistan’s resolve to continue the battle against TB. On this occasion, a number of patients narrated their stories about getting free treatment under TB control programme. A large number of members of medical community and general public attended the seminar.