Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading infectious cause of death worldwide. Pakistan ranks sixth globally among the 22 high TB burden countries and contributes an estimates 43 percent of the disease towards the Eastern Mediterranean region of the world health organization. Annually, around 430,000 people including 15,000 children contract TB in Pakistan while not less than 70,000 deaths every year can be attributed to the disease in the country. Pakistan is also estimated to have the fourth highest prevalence of multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) globally. Over 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.

TB is a disease of poverty and poor, malnourished, diabetic patients using corticosteroid drugs, drug addicts, smokers, elderly, HIV infected patients, alcoholic and people living in overcrowding institution like prison. A large number of people infected with the TB bacilli is not diagnose either because of poverty or because of lack of awareness about the seriousness of the disease. The delay in diagnosis, unsupervised, inappropriate and inadequate drug regimens, poor follow up and lack of social support Program for high-risk population are some of the reasons for not reaching the target rates and emergence of drug resistant form of tuberculosis.

TB is a treatable disease with six months course of antibiotics. However, prevention is better than cure; TB can be preventing by BCG vaccination and by awareness raising campaigns on mass scale. Is somebody has the symptoms of TB, one should report to the nearest health care centers to get their sputum tested free of cost. The TB patients should not be stigmatize and must receive full support from family and community. To reduce the burden of the disease in Pakistan there is a dire need to increase awareness among public and especially among the youth through mass media.

HADIA AZIZ,

Islamabad.