ISLAMABAD – Head of the National TB Control Programme Dr Ijaz Qadeer has disclosed that around 400,000 citizens suffer from the disease every year and majority of them are poor people who are provided free check, medicines and other treatment facilities.

Speaking at a seminar here on Monday attended by experts, representatives of NGOs and volunteers, Dr Ijaz Qadeer said that 1.5 million TB patients were registered and treated during the last three years.  This was the result of awareness campaign and provision of treatment facilities at the gross root level including at the Basic Health Units, Rural Health Centres, Tehsil and district headquarters hospitals. 

He said people are well aware that TB is a curable disease and they are not hesitant to go to the medical centres for checkup and medicines.  He said that seventy five percent of the TB patients are between the age group of 15 and 45 years and 21 percent over fifty years of ago.

The Head of the TB programme lauded the tireless efforts of the staff, NGOs and volunteers and said over the years a committed and trained force has been created which was performing its functions with a missionary zeal. He however agreed that still a lot more is required to be done because people in the far-flung areas find it difficult to reach the hospitals.

Programme Manager Dr Anwar Chaudhry explained in details the efforts made by the TB programme and said the awareness campaign brought positive results.

 He said with the cooperation of Provincial governments, social welfare organizations and govt departments, the programme could be made more effective. 

He said after the 18th amendment in the constitution, the Health Department has been devolved to the provinces and Punjab government has included it in PC-one.

The participants of the seminar recognized that the Awareness campaign over the print and electronic media helped in the success of the programme. Some of them said that there was need for creating more facilities in TB hospitals as critically ill people had to wait for weeks and months to get admission.  They also stressed the need for providing assistance to the TB patients to take a balanced diet during the treatment for early and full recovery.