KOHAT, June 1: Tuberculosis, a curable disease, kills 9000 people each year in the NWFP, half of them in hospitals during treatment.
This was stated by medical experts at a workshop on the role of media in controlling TB held the other day. The workshop was part of TB week being observed in Kohat district by the provincial health department in collaboration with Strengthened TB Control Programme (STCP) and GTZ to create awareness among masses.
Dr Khwaja Laeeq, programme officer of the NWFP chapter of the World Health Organisation, informed participants of the workshop that the most common reasons of deaths were discontinuation of an 8-month regular treatment course and non-reporting of TB cases due to stigma attached to the disease.
But, he said, the patients who do not approach hospitals pose a constant threat to healthy people in their families and vicinity because one TB patient can infect 10 to 15 people around him.
A WHO report said that TB kills the biggest number of patients in the world, especially in the third world. “That is why the agency has been funding free treatment programmes for many years,” he added.
He said interruptions in medication could lead to serious problems but cost of a 24-month treatment was around Rs0.2 million, which certainly was beyond the capacity of an average man.
Ms Shandana Khisro said that women were more vulnerable to the disease due to many social reasons. She said 60 per cent of the patients approaching health centres were women. Men in the NWFP prefer female doctor for their women but number of lady doctors in basic health units and major hospitals was very small. She said treatment required regular visits to the doctor but patients usually do not visit regularly because of poverty and sometimes because of apthy of their families.