Hospitals urged to follow TB control plan effectively

ISLAMABAD: The citizens on Tuesday urged the management of the public sector hospitals to properly implement the directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) to support the tuberculosis patients.According to them, the government has allocated sufficient amount to provide DOTS treatment methodology for the treatment of the TB patients at the hospitals, however the patients are facing problems due to the apathetic attitude of the deployed medical staff. They said that there is a need to have extensive plan to provide best medical care to the tuberculosis patients at the government hospitals. They demanded to deploy trained staff with complete knowledge of DOTS methodology at the hospitals.According to the available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 populations in Pakistan is 181, case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85 percent. Pakistan ranks at number six globally among the 22 high tuberculosis burden countries, and contributes 43 percent of the disease towards the Eastern-Mediterranean region of the World Health Organisation (WHO). An estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB due to which the World Health Organisation is working on its plan to curb the menace of TB.When contacted, an official said that around 982 microscopy centres have been established across the country to provide free-of-cost diagnostic facility to the tuberculosis patients. He said that more than 700,000 tuberculosis patients were treated free of charge while 100 percent coverage of WHO-recommended treatment strategy for the detection and cure known as directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS) is achieved in the country. He said that external quality assurance for sputum microscopy is implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories have been established included one at the federal level and one each at provincial levels. He said that the training and health education materials have been developed and all health care providers have been trained. Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said that TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. He said that the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. He said that in healthy people, the infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person’s immune system acts to wall off the bacteria. He said that the symptoms of active TB of the lung are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. He added that tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics. The health experts also said that the increased malaria prevention and control measures were essential to reduce the menace of malaria from the country.They pointed out that malaria was a life threatening disease, caused by parasites that were transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes, particularly in the high-risk season. They said that malaria spreads to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes, called malaria vectors, which bite mainly between dusk and dawn. They added that the non-immune travelers from the malaria free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected. Astori said that the parents of children needed to realise that it was their moral, ethical, and religious obligation to ensure that their children were protected against the diseases and disability through the completion of the immunisation course.

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