PR No.184 National TB Control Program Islamabad, March 22, 2016

National TB Control Program (NTP), Ministry of National Health Services Regulation & Coordination organized a Seminar on March22nd, 2016, at Aiwan-e-Quaid, Nazriya Pakistan Council, F-9 Park, Islamabad to commemorate World TB Day 2014.

Minister, National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar, said that World TB Day is an occasion to urge action to stop tuberculosis, a disease which still kills an appalling number of people every day.

Pakistan is having the 5th highest incidence in the world which does not occupy an enviable position with regard to Tuberculosis. The key to controlling TB is to raise awareness about its symptoms and encourage sufferers to seek treatment which is available free of cost. It is to ensure that patients follow the full course of medication for the prescribed period. Also, tuberculosis carries social stigma, which is a major obstacle for treatment. Public education and building awareness can help prevent a deepening epidemic.

Sair Afzal Tarar said that the Government of Pakistan is making concerted efforts to control TB in Pakistan. However, we know that information about TB symptoms and treatment is at low levels in the country. I believe that we as a nation can help in disseminating such information regarding tuberculosis among our communities. By doing so, we can help in saving the lives of thousands of people who die of TB every year.

She extendedher greetings and good wishes to all those who are in forefront in fighting this menace to the health of our citizens.

She also appreciated the efforts of the National TB Control Program in the fight against TB and said that she is very confident about the capabilities of the team leader. NTP has provided a meaningful opportunity in bringing together all the stake holders and making this event a success.

She also mentioned the major achievements during the 2015:

3 million TB cases diagnosed & treated with quality assured ATT drugs in 1300 BMUs

Laboratory support: Ensured EQA and culture DST services in ?1400 Peripheral, 112 intermediate, 6 BSL-II, 4 BSL-III, 5 provincial and1 national reference labs. 68 X-pert machines installed

MDR-TB: MDR-TB: Management of Drug Resistant TB by trained staff at 27 treatment sites across the country. 8006 patients enrolled on Quality assured second line anti TB drugs till end of December 2015 out of them 3994 are currently under treatment. In addition to the treatment, psychosocial support is provided to patients include counseling, food basket and travel incentive. 2200 doctors are trained on ambulatory based model of care for DR-TB patients across the country. 17 PMDT treatment sites are upgraded to address infection control. The analysis of 2012 cohort of DR-TB patients enrolled by NTP shows Treatment Success rate of 71%, death rate 16% and lost to follow-up 5%

Public Private Mix: More than 2300 GPs involved in 88 districts contributing towards 22% of TB case notification.MOU’s involving private and other health sectors signed with Pakistan Chest Society, National Rural Support Program, Military Hospitals and International Organization of Migrants. 70 Parasternal and 70 private hospitals will be engaged in PPM through NFM grant.

TB/HIV: TB/HIV co-infection managed at 16 sentinel with the collaboration of AIDS Control program.

Health System Strengthening: On job training of all tiers of health care staff and health care managers conducted on national guidelines and training material for TB case management.

TB Drug Management: Ensured the country need for anti-TB drugs. District/provincial store upgraded/automated through e-based TB drug management information system.

MIS-DOTS: e-surveillance system implemented to manage online case based data in 114 districts

She said that I am very confident that with the support of my colleagues, international and national organizations and leading members of our community, we shall not only succeed in controlling the disease of tuberculosis but may also reduce it to a level where it is not a public health issue.

The Minister of State requested media personnel to play their role in disseminating message on TB as complete information can help in saving the lives of thousands of people who die of TB every year. She also added that continuous efforts are needed to decrease number of TB cases in Pakistan.

Large number of Stake holders including representatives of government organizations, national and international NGOs, media and partners attended the event.