ISLAMABAD - Realizing the fact that TB contributes 5.1 per cent to the total national disease burden, the National TB Control Programme organised a one-day consultative meeting to take media persons onboard to help achieve the desired goals. The meeting was meant at engaging both the print and electronic media in raising awareness regarding tuberculosis in the country. The meeting provided an opportunity to both the journalists and health managers to discuss various important issues regarding the disease. Addressing the gathering, Programme Manager of the National TB Control, Dr Noor Ahmed Baloch, attached high hopes to media for creating mass awareness regarding the disease. He maintained that TB is thousands and thousands years ancient disease and so is the stigma attached to it. TB should not be taken as a stigma anymore as the disease has complete treatment and the patient can recover after successful completion of the eight-month DOTS programme, he added. He said, the government has therefore given high priority to TB, and in 2001 it was declared a national emergency. The National TB Programme has expanded the WHO recommended TB control strategy (or DOTS) throughout the health services of the Ministry of Health by May 2005. The National TB Control Programme with its provincial departments in all four provinces, AJ&K and Northern Areas is providing diagnosis and treatment facilities at all public health centres. There are over 5,000 diagnostic and treatment centres functioning throughout the country, said Dr Muhmmad Tariq Technical Consultant NTP while speaking on the occasion. In 2006 Pakistan contributed 55 per cent of the total number of detected cases in the region indicating that TB control activities are well placed in the country, he continued. Since the year 2000, 800,000 patients have been registered for treatment, 85 per cent of them had successfully completed their treatment, he continued. He said Pakistan perches on 8th among the 22 high burden countries and 300,000 TB patients are diagnosed annually. Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilization has been used successfully to address the key challenges faced in the fight against TB, he added. It merits a mention here that TB kills more than two million people a year and 50,000 Pakistanis die of this bacterial infection.