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PESHAWAR: The health department is conducting a study to ascertain the number of smokers among TB patients and woo them to discontinue smoking because it aggravates their ailment.

“The research study is being conducted by TB Control Programme in collaboration with Khyber Medical University Peshawar and York University UK in four designated districts of the province,” Dr Maqsood Ali Khan, the project director of TB Control Programme, told Dawn.

He said that it was a step forward to ensure quality care to the patients. He added that findings and recommendation of the study would be integrated into TB Control Programme at the provincial and national levels.

Dr Maqsood said that smoking was known reason for aggravating TB but during the course of research study smoking of lungs was prevalent among 60 per cent of TB patients. He said that the study would also analyse the impact of smoking on the health condition of the patients and they would be advised to stop smoking to be able to get properly cured. He said that countrywide 340 people among every 100,000 had TB.

Findings of study to be integrated into TB Control Programme

Dr Maqsood said the districts of Peshawar, Mardan, Abbottabad and Kohat were selected for the study where 120 health professionals including one doctor and technician were trained about the pattern of the research to come with concrete findings to be shared with both the universities.

According to previous researches, he said, smokers were 30 per cent more vulnerable to TB and their chances of treatment were less than non-smokers. “We will convince the smokers to stop using tobacco at the earliest. Towards the end of every month, we will compile a report about those patients, who quit smoking,” he added.

Dr Maqsood said that there would be a quarterly review to see the number of smokers among TB patients in the designated centres and if they were still smoking or had stopped. “We have designed proformas where smoking history of patients will be recorded and they will be shown videos to inform them about ill-effects of smoking on health, especially with regard to TB,” he added.

He said that the detailed proformas, to be filled for the smoking patients, would also have information about the environments in which they lived besides complete history of smoking and outcome of treatment.

Dr Maqsood said that a total of 60 TB centres in those districts were identified where specially trained staff was deployed to make the exercise a success and use the results for making treatment more effective in future.

He said that the study was part of an international research for which York University was providing technical assistance to persuade the smoking TB patients to stop the habit through counseling.

“We have given a suggestion through Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination. Currently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is recording 45,000 TB patients annually but there is no data of smokers among them. Findings would be compiled after one year,” said Dr Maqsood.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2019