Islamabad - National Tuberculosis Program has missed around 150,000 cases of Tuberculosis in last two years despite receiving huge global fund for the elimination of the disease from the country, the Senate body was told on Tuesday.

The meeting of Senate Sub-committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) was held here to look into the measures taken by the NTP to prevent the disease.

Senator Ashok Kumar convened the meeting while the officials of the NTP briefed the Senate body regarding the current situation of Tuberculosis in the country.

Manager NTP Dr Nasir Mehmood told the Senate body that 143million dollars for the year 2016-18 were provided to NTP and despite all the efforts, 150,000 cases were missed in the country.

He said Pakistan ranks 5th among the 30 high-burden TB countries and stand on 6th number among the countries with an estimated high incidence of multi-drug resistant TB.

The official said that around 518,000 estimated TB cases were registered in the country during the year 2016 and out of the registered cases, 366,061 were treated with the success rate of 93 percent.

He said from the allocated global fund, 88million dollars were provided to NTP. The funds were spent on providing TB services and salaries to 1200 employees working in the program.

The official also said that along with NTP, in public sector, Indus Hospital and Mercy Corps, a non-governmental organization (NGO) is also a partner of the TB control program and received 40 and 15 million dollars in this regard respectively.

The NTP manager also said that only seven percent aid is provided to the program at the local level which is lowest in the lower middle range category of the countries fighting the disease.

He also said that more than 1300 Basic Management Units (BMUs) providing free TB services including diagnoses and treatment are countrywide being provided. NTP Manager also said that there are seven Drug Susceptibility Testing Labs in the country working. Meanwhile, on the private side around 450 labs are working.

Dr Nasir Mehmood said that in the province Baluchistan, three hospitals for the management of Drug-Resistant TB including Fatima Jinnah Hospital, DHQ Loralai and DHQ Turbat, with six machines are working. He said that 144million dollars have been requested from the Global Fund for the period of 2018-20, but the program is already in the deficit of 300million dollars. He said that 500million dollars were demanded from the Global Fund under the National Strategic Plan to end TB for the years of 2017-20.

Meanwhile, Convener of the Committee Dr Ashok Kumar expressed reservations on the distribution of funds to the private sector and sought the audit report of the utilization of funds.

“Millions of dollars are being distributed in private sector which further outsourced the project to other NGOs,” he said.

The committee convener also conveyed the NTP officials to not terminate the junior ranked employees of the program mentioning that the issue will be raised in the Senate.

The convener also said that Baluchistan lacks the facility of TB control services and less work has been done there.

He also raised the issue of appointment of NTP manager which was reversed but he was still working on the position.

Additional Secretary Mohammad Ali Sherzada informed the committee that the issued letter was not delivered through a proper official channel and was received on ‘WhatsApp’. He also said that NTP Manager Dr Nasir Mehmood has not completed his term on deputation and heading the program.