KOHAT: The cases of contagious deadly disease of tuberculosis have seen an alarming increase here since the establishment of government diagnostic centre due to non-reporting by the people who are afraid of social boycott because of transfer of germs from one patient to other quickly.

Similarly, after the retirement of a pulmonologist in 2006 the post is still vacant in the KDA teaching hospital and an MBBS doctor had been assigned by the administration to treat the patients.

When contacted, in-charge of the diagnostic centre at KDA teaching hospital, Safeer Ahmed, told this correspondent that the number of TB patients had risen by more than a thousand since 2006 after establishment of the diagnostic centre.

Post of pulmonologist at KDA hospital vacant since 2006

He said that compared to 1,800 cases in 2018 about 1,350 patients were registered in 2017, with more than a dozen cases of unrecoverable patients who were being reported every year.

He said that these were normal cases which required six months treatment after which the patient recovered fully.

He said that in cases of early stage of pulmonary positive, negative and extra pulmonary the only encouraging aspect was that after use of tablets for two months regularly the disease was stopped from spreading.

He explained that pulmonary negative meant that there was no other TB patient in the home who could again transfer the disease.

Mr Ahmed said that in case of extreme late diagnosis recovery was nearly impossible. He explained that 17 to 19 such hopeless cases of Multi Drug Resistant (MDR) were being reported every year. One case of Extended Drug Resistant (EDR) had been detected during last 11 months of 2018 which had been referred to Peshawar as there was no cure available in Kohat for such patients.

He said that such patients required two-year treatment and were provided monthly food package by the government so that they should not mingle with people at shops, jobs, etc. He said that at late stages the disease (MDR & EDR) could affect the brain, bones, liver, lungs and all parts of the body and then it became untreatable. He said that in normal MDR and EDR cases, if the patients skipped tablets for a single day they would have to start the two-year course afresh.

He said that extreme care was required during check-up to avoid gathering of patients at one place outside the office of the doctor. He said that there was no separate OPD for the TB patients in the KDA hosptial.

“When we detect a patient by chance he is asked to bring the whole family for check-up to confirm whether any of them is positive for tuberculosis, but the other members refuse to come,” he said.

Likewise, the most problematic issue was that of the women because they had to work at home, look after children and cook food which increased the chances of spread of disease to other family members.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018

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