Pakistan has sixth highest incidence of TB

Pakistan is ranked sixth in the world among the 22 high tuberculosis risk countries, contributing 43 percent of the disease toward the eastern-Mediterranean region of the World Health Organization, according to a recent report.

Pakistan experiences approximately 181 TB cases per 100,000 population. The country's case notification is 150 per 100,000 population and the treatment success rate is 85 percent, Pakistan Today reports.

According to government sources, Pakistan has treated more than 700,000 TB patients for free with 100 percent treatment methodology using directly observed treatment short-course, the treatment strategy recommended by the WHO.

The government also said that health education materials were developed to train all healthcare providers and that quality assurance for sputum microscopy was implemented in 40 districts of the country. Five TB reference laboratories were established with one at the federal level and one each at provincial levels.

A World Health Organization report said that Pakistan experienced 620,000 cases of TB in 2011 which killed 59,000 people.

Sharif Astori, a doctor with the Federal Government Poly Clinic, said that TB is an infectious bacterial disease that transmits from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the active respiratory disease. Symptoms of active TB include coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, weakness, weight loss, chest pains, night sweats and fever. The disease is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics, Pakistan Today reports.