Pakistan dealing with 400,000 cases of TB annually

An official with Pakistan's National TB Control Program said on Monday that approximately 400,000 Pakistanis suffer from tuberculosis every year.

Ijaz Qadeer, the head of the organization, discussed the disease problem during a seminar attended by volunteers, experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations. He said that a majority of the patients are poor people who receive free medicine, checkups and treatment facilities, the Daily Times reports.

Ijaz said that 1.5 million TB patients were registered and treated in the last three years because of awareness campaigns and grassroots level treatment facilities. He praised the efforts of the organizations represented at the seminar for their hard work, but he noted that much more work was needed to reach people in remote areas.

Anwar Chaudhry, the program manager of the National TB Control Program, said that the program could become more effective if there was more cooperation between social welfare organizations, government departments and provincial governments.

Seminar participants discussed the use of print and electronic media as part of the awareness campaign to make the program successful. Some speakers said that more facilities were needed in TB hospitals to ensure that the critically ill can get admission more quickly. The participants also stressed the need for TB patients to eat a balanced diet during treatment, the Daily Times reports.