LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Tuberculosis Day was observed across the country on Monday for raising public awareness about the menace.

‘Stop TB in my life time' is the slogan for this year’s World TB Day encompassing the ambitions of all governments, health care professionals, civil society organisations and health development partners involved in TB care, and points to the ultimate target of Global TB Elimination by the year 2050.

Workshops, free medical camps and walks were organised both at the government and private level to renew the pledge of using all resources to eradicate the menace of TB.

Currently Tuberculosis causes the deaths of about 1.7 million people each year, mostly in the developing countries. 24th March actually commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch discovered the TB Mycobacterium Tuberculosis that actually causes the disease. The discovery opened the way toward diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.

Speaking at a seminar organised by Punjab TB Control Program at a local hotel, Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health Kh Salman Rafiq said that the mortality due to TB in Punjab has been reduced by 53 percent which was a great success. Director General Health Dr Zahid Pervaiz, Country Director Mercy Corps Dr Arif Noor, National TB Program Director from Islamabad Dr Ijaz Qadeer, Additional Director General Health Epidemic Response and Control Dr Jaffar Ilyas, Director Punjab TB Control Programme Dr Muhammad Naeem and representatives of other departments attended the seminar.

Kh Salman Rafiq said that mortality rate due to TB was 72 deaths out of one lakh in 1990 which has now been reduced upto 34 out of one lakh whereas this ratio in other countries is 45. He said that government was pursuing the agenda of prevention of diseases for which a comprehensive plan has been devised. He said that the officers of Health Department and the other stakeholders have to work hard by rising above their personal interests and discharge their duties with dedication and professionalism. He said that the government was facing managerial and administrative problems. He said that there was need of capacity-building of health managers at district level. He said that government was promoting prevention of diseases for which reforms were being introduced in Health Department. He said that for the success of different health programs initiated at district level there should be zero tolerance policy to make the officers accountable for their assignments. Earlier, Provincial TB Control Porgamme Manager Dr Muhammad Naeem informed that Pakistan was 5th among 22 countries where occurrence of TB was very high. He informed that government has established 537 centers at Basic Health Units and 2899 centers at RJCs and other major hospitals for the treatment of TB patients where free medicines as well as diagnostic facilities were being provided. He said that with the collaboration of Mercy Corps private practitioners have been included in Public-Private Mix (PPM) project so that diagnostic and treatment facilities could be extended to the maximum TB patients. DG Health Dr Zahid Pervaiz, Incharge National TB Programme Dr Ijaz Qadeer, Country Manager Marcy Corps Dr Arif Noor also addressed the seminar and stressed the consolidated efforts and full community participation for eradication of TB.

Shalamar Medical College and Hospital arranged a seminar and awareness walk to mark the event.

DG Health Punjab Dr Zahid Pervaiz was the chief guest. Senior doctors delivered awareness lecture on TB Control.

Prof Zafarullah Khan said that the main cause of TB was poverty, lack of awareness and untimely diagnosis. Medical camp was also arranged where patients were facilitated with free X-Ray, TB tests and blood tests. Awareness literature and free medicines were provided to the patients in the camp.