Health minister says govt committed to ending TB by 2030


ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar on Monday said that all resources will be mobilised to fight tuberculosis (TB) and to eradicate this disease from the country by 2030.

Addressing a seminar in connection with World TB 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 that TB control programme is one of the best performing public health programmes in the country. She added that free diagnostic and treatment services are available in more than 1,700 public and private sector facilities across Pakistan.

The minister further said that in 2016, around 69 per cent of the estimated TB cases were notified and put on treatment, while more than 90 per cent of the patients suffering from this disease notified were successfully treated.

Saira also said that more than 120 advanced diagnostic facilities and 32 specialised 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 that in 2016 alone, 366,000 tuberculosis cases were notified and enrolled for treatment.

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.

National TB Control Programme Manager Dr Nasir, explaining the current situation of tuberculosis and the current challenges, said that missing TB cases was the biggest threat, and stressed the need for inter-sectoral collaboration to find these missing cases.

WHO Additional Director General Dr Minghui Ren said that about 10.4 million cases of TB occur each year all around the world while 1.8 million die due to the disease. He stressed the importance of integration of HIV and TB services in order to better serve the needs of people.