Govt provides free medical services to over 340,000 TB patients annually: Faisal


Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, Dr. Faisal Sultan on Tuesday said that the government is committed in providing free of cost diagnostic and treatment services to more than 340,000 TB patients annually.

Addressing a seminar in connection with World TB Day, Dr Faisal said that free medical services are being provided by the National TB Control Program, with the support of Provincial TB Control Programs and partners through a network of more than 1700 TB care facilities across Pakistan.

He said that there is the availability of more than 500 Gene X-pert machines for rapid testing of both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB patients across the country.

He added, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no disruption of anti TB drugs for TB patients and the treatment success rate remained 94% during the pandemic.

He said that the government has paid special attention to this critical issue and strengthened the program for providing free treatment to TB patients.

He said that the government is committed to achieve the target of eliminating the disease from the country and sought the support of all stakeholders in this regard.

He said that the government has planned several activities to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences and to step up efforts to end the disease epidemic.

Addressing the participants, health experts said that the total TB cases incidence rate per year is 525,000 in Pakistan while 1571 microscopy centers have been working in the country. They said that more than three hundred thousand TB patients are benefiting from free diagnostic and treatment facilities every year in Pakistan.

They said that more than 30 hospitals have been upgraded to take care of multi-drug resistant TB cases and 13 laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art facilities are being established in various parts of the country.

They said that it was in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way for diagnosing and curing this disease.

They added every year TB day is celebrated on the urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders to control the disease. They said that TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer.

They said that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives since the year 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%.

They added to accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets heads of states came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting in September 2018.


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