LAHORE - A screening programme under the Punjab Health Department is being started in 36 districts to detect childhood tuberculoses (TB) said by the TB Programme coordinator.

Earlier this programme was being implemented in 12 districts. Pakistan is fifth in the world according to ratio of TB disease and more than four lac patients are being included every year.

This consultative meeting and press briefing was arranged with the collaboration of NGOs the Mercy Corps and the Global Fund which are working for preventing TB disease.

Talking to media, Dr Drakshan Badar said that now the TB patient has to take medicines only six months without any break which is being given to the patient directly under DOTS programme.

She said that the number of such TB patients is increasing who do not complete their treatment due to which this disease becomes more complicated and fatal.

She stressed media to create awareness among the people that TB patients should continue the medicines till recovery. Dr Drakshan disclosed that free medicines are being provided to the TB patients under the Punjab TB Control Programme in hospitals and health centers across the province, including Ghulab Devi hospital with the cooperation of Merci Corps and Global Fund.

“Poverty, increasing population, spread of cities without planning, lack of civic amenities, populated areas and shortage of food are the basic causes of TB”, she added. She said that diagnostic and treatment facilities have also been provided in jails to detect TB in prisoners.

 She said that earlier the prisoners had to come to district hospitals but now this facility is available at local level. She said that 530 centers are working for TB diagnosing whereas 2899 centers in Punjab.