Pakistan ranks sixth among high-risk TB countries

Pakistan ranks sixth in the world among 22 countries with a high-risk for tuberculosis, according to a recently released report.

The World Health Organization reported that Pakistan adds 420,000 new cases of TB every year, according to

The 22 countries on the WHO's list account for 80 percent of the world's total number of TB cases.

Pakistan's Federal Minister of Inter-provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani recently acknowledged that TB is a major public health challenge for Pakistan. He added that a National TB Control Program has been instituted that should help to provide proper treatment to the infected.

The minister said that he hopes the number of TB patients in the country can be reduced to a minimum within the next four or five years.

"It is true that after 18th amendment, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education have been devolved and now to run the business of these ministries is the responsibility of the provincial governments, but the National TB Control Program is being supervised by the Federal government," Bijarani said, reports. "The government has provided treatment to 1.2 million TB patients within the last 4-5 years. We are trying our level best to reach the remote areas of the country to minimize and control the epidemic. There are more than 5000 diagnosis and treatment centers providing TB services to poor and marginalized population across Pakistan."