Govt taking steps to overcome TB by 2030: Saira

Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Monday said that all resources will be mobilized to fight TB and to eradicate this disease from the country by 2030.
Addressing a seminar in connection with World TB world Day here, the minister said that despite challenges, significant efforts have been made by the federal government with the support of the provincial governments to stop TB in the last few years. She said TB Control Program is one of the best performing public health programs in the country. She added free TB diagnostic and treatment services are available in more than 1700 public and private sector facilities across Pakistan.
She said that in 2016, around 69% of the estimated incident TB cases were notified and put on treatment while more than 90% of the TB patients notified were successfully treated. She said that more than 120 advanced diagnostic facilities and 32 specialized treatment facilities have been established across the country for free of cost early diagnosis and treatment for Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR) TB patients. She added in 2016 alone, 366,000 TB cases were notified and enrolled on treatment.
The minister said “We have a strong cooperation and partnership with the private sector and today more than 3500 general practitioners, 125 NGOs’ health centres, 2,000 pharmacies, 35 private hospitals and 45 para-statal hospitals in 88 districts are engaged in TB control.
She said that private sector is contributing towards 28 percent of total TB case notification in the country. “We are working closely with Pakistan Pediatric Association to control childhood TB in the country.”
She said that cognizant of the risk of TB-HIV co-infection, 40 sentinel sites have been established for screening and early diagnosis of TB-HIV co-infection in geographical areas having documented concentrated HIV epidemics.
The minister said that for MDR TB Pakistan has treatment success rate of 65 percent which is higher than average global success rate. It was in this context that in 2016 Pakistan was recognized with TB Champion Award.—APP

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