PESHAWAR - The Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), Peshawar, Association for Community Development (ACD), Provincial TB Control Programme (PTP), and National TB Control Programme (NTP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance mutual objectives supported by The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) grant.

In response to increasing TB incidence, the Government of Pakistan had declared TB as national emergency in 2001. The government confirmed its strong commitment to TB control in the Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF) 2005-2010 for achieving the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The National Strategic Plan articulates a clear ‘road map’ for achieving and sustaining the Global Stop TB targets of 70 per cent case detection and 85 per cent treatment success rates, through 100 per cent DOTS coverage.

The signatories to the MoU included Prof Arshad Javaid, Chief Executive LRH, Dr Ejaz Qadeer, Manager National TB Programme, Dr Ubaid Hussain, Director TB Programme, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Dr Akmal Naveed, Director Association for Community Development (ACD).

This MOU describes the support, cooperation and services that will be provided by the parties to advance mutual objectives supported by GFATM grant in order to facilitate access to quality TB diagnostic and treatment services for MDR TB patients including rural populations, females, youth and children and all those who access the hospital for these services. The project will cater for the populations in and around Peshawar city including Fata and adjoining districts. National TB Programme will provide technical assistance for the implementation of MDR-TB project, renovate and upgrade designated MDR OPD and wards to address infection control measures required for DR-TB management. Provide Quality Assured Second-Line Anti-TB Drugs (SLDs), make arrangements with National TB Reference Laboratory (NRL) at Islamabad for laboratory services for diagnostic culture and sensitivity, follow up TB culture, monthly (during the intensive phase) and bi-monthly (during continuation phase) of treatment, strengthen and up-gradate the microbiology lab at BSL-II for TB Culture and provide GenXpert for rapid testing of suspected patients and arrange for their DST.

LRH will nominate a focal person, chest specialist, laboratory expert and a pharmacist to support management of the project. In addition to that, LRH will provide premises and necessary assistance i.e. space for in-door and out-door clinical services, lab services, storage of drugs and food baskets and utilities association for community development will provide human resource for implementation of the project, social support i.e. food basket and travel incentive to each enrolled DR-TB patient and their treatment supporters, trainings of different categories of health care providers (doctors, paramedics, treatment supporters, social mobilisers and community health workers, etc. Provincial TB programme will facilitate other partners in smooth implementation of the project, monitor the project and provide technical inputs. This new initiative is expected to cater for the most difficult group of TB patients and is a way forward for controlling TB in this province