Cigarette, paan, gutka recipe for TB

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KARACHI – While the quality and level of tuberculosis (TB) care has improved dramatically in recent years, the incidence of TB in Pakistan is still too high with the death toll rising at an alarming rate every year, said Indus Hospital Infectious Diseases Department Head Dr Naeem Salahuddin on Thursday.
She said this while speaking at a community awareness programme organised in the Indus Hospital, Korangi to highlight the significance of the World TB Day.
The programme aimed at communicating important facts to more than 300 school children for controlling the disease from spreading among children and adults residing in high-risk areas.
Fitness and alterative therapy specialist, yogi Wajahat was the chief guest on the occasion, where schoolchildren studying in the ‘mobile school’ operated by the Citizens Education Development Foundation (CEDF) presented a song, acting out respiratory hygiene.
Sharing her insights on the occasion, Dr Salahuddin pointed out that although the primary site of TB infection is the lungs, the bacteria spreads like termites into other organs of the body such as glands, intestines, kidneys, brain, bones and joints, and can incapacitate the patient.
“The emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB strains in Pakistan is yet another concern which needs to be addressed before the disease escalates even further out of control,” said Salahuddin, adding that it is extremely important to make correct diagnosis and cure the disease.
“Smoking weakens the lungs, making them susceptible to TB, cancer and other infections. People should refrain from cigarettes, paan, gutka, etc, all of which are unhealthy. TB can also be transmitted through sputum contact and educating citizens on ways to control the spread is therefore the need of the hour,” said Salahuddin.
“We hope to continue our efforts at the Indus Hospital to improve awareness on the disease and control the spread of TB,” she added. The event was also addressed by Indus Hospital CEO Dr Abdul Bari Khan and Laboratory Services Director Clinical Microbiologist Dr Altaf Ahmed.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest advised the audience that healthy diet and exercise can build the stamina to fight infectious diseases. The programme also served to highlight the message that TB is curable with timely medical intervention and treatment, and provided a platform to former patients of MDR TB, who were successfully cured at the Indus Hospital for sharing their experiences.