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Timely treatment can help in combating TB

March 26, 2013

PESHAWAR, March 25: The health experts have urged patients of tuberculosis to use medicines on regular basis to avoid multi-drug resistance (MDR), the fatal stage of the disease.

Addressing a seminar organised by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa TB Control Programme in connection with World TB Day at a local hotel here on Monday, the speakers said that tuberculosis was curable at the first stage during six to eight months period.

Health Special Secretary Dr Mohammad Akbar Khan, Health Director General Dr Sharif Ahmad Khan, Lady Reading Hospital Chief Executive Prof Arshad Javed, Dr Ijaz Qadeer, project director Dr Ubaid Hussain, Dr Muqsood Ali Khan and Dr Taj Mohammad addressed the seminar. Medical students and representatives of health department and donor agencies were also present on the occasion.

The health secretary said that TB control programme achieved the targets of case detection rate of 68 per cent and treatment success rate of 94 per cent in the province that was in line with the recommendation of World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, he said that achieving the targets was not an end of the journey rather a commitment that they still needed to go a long way to control tuberculosis.

Dr Akbar Khan said that availability of anti-TB drugs and trained human resource at the diagnostic and treatment centres was encouraging but to sustain the targets, they must continue with the same spirit and improve the quality of services.

Speaking on the occasion, the health director general said that TB control programme was launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2002. He said that they established 229 diagnostic centres and 810 functional treatment centers in the province under the programme.

Dr Sharif said that anti-TB drugs and diagnostic facilities were provided free of cost to people at those centres. “It is very important for the success of any programme that constant monitoring and evaluation is carried out so that weaknesses are notified and rectified,” he said.

He said that in 2012, TB control programme was able to register 35,848 patients with 94 per cent success rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The WHO has estimated about 1,500 cases of MDR-TB annually in the province.

The target of the programme was to enhance the capacity of public and private sectors to detect and manage 80 per cent of the estimated smear positive MDR-TB cases by 2015, said Dr Ubaid Hussain.

Dr Arshad Javed stressed the need for involving all the practitioners working in private sector in provision of free care to tuberculosis patients.

The speakers urged the patients to contact the diagnostic and treatment centres without fear of any stigma so that their disease could be detected and treated to safeguard other healthy people from it. “To miss even a single dose in a day, can cause MDR that can be deadly and more expensive,” they added. The special secretary of health distributed shields of acknowledgment among the professionals for their contribution to control tuberculosis in the province.