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A total of 982 microscopy centres have been established across the country to provide free of cost diagnostic facility to tuberculosis (TB) patients.
According to official sources, more than 700,000 tuberculosis patients were treated free of charge while 100 coverage of WHO-recommended treatment strategy for detection and cure known as Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) was achieved in the country.
They said external quality assurance for sputum microscopy is implemented in 40 districts of the country while five reference laboratories have been established one at federal level and one each at provincial level.
They said training and health education materials have been developed and all health care providers have been trained.
Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said that TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs.
He added the disease is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease.
He said in healthy people, infection with mycobacterium tuberculosis often causes no symptoms, since the person’s immune system acts to wall off the bacteria.
He said the symptoms of active TB of the lungs are coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
He added tuberculosis is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics.
According to available data, the incidence of TB per 100,000 population in Pakistan is 181, case notification per 100,000 per year is 150 while the treatment success rate is 85 per cent.
An estimated one-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB due to which World Health Organization is working on its plan to cut TB prevalence rates and deaths by half by 2015.