Quetta: In an effort to end the TB epidemic in Balochistan, the provincial health department has launched a project called ‘Ao TB mitao’ to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day. A hospital in Karachi has provided technical support for the project while the Global Fund has provided the financial support, TB Control Programme Balochistan Manager Dr Sultan Ahmed Lehri said.
He admitted, “There’s no doubt about the fact that there’s an increase in the number of TB patients in the province.”
The three-year project to curb TB is at par with international standards. Among other measures which will be taken to battle the spread of the disease, a mobile van equipped with the latest digital X-Ray facility to test patients will be part of the project.
The van would be driven to different areas, hospitals, schools, colleges and factories across Balochistan to screen people for TB.
Further, diagnosis centers have been established in districts of Balochistan and awareness campaigns will take place on an emergency basis in schools and colleges.
Steps to educate doctors and paramedical staff about the disease are also being taken.
Additionally, Stop TB Pakistan (National Partnership) has initiated a five-year strategic plan to control TB in Balochistan. This plan has recommendations as per the guidelines by World Health Organization and is in line with the requirements of the province for the timely end of TB.
However, experts have said the results of steps taken by the government will only be apparent with cooperation from the public.
Further, experts said the government needs to take steps on the financial and social front so a society free of TB can exist in Balochistan.
Experts have stressed the need for awareness to battle the deadly virus in the province.
“The main reason for the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) in the province is poverty and lack of awareness,” experts said.
“Lack of awareness and not just insufficient medical facilities or poverty is leading to the rapid spread of the disease in the province,” they added.
Regarding the symptoms of TB, Dr Shahwaiz at Fatima Jinnah Chest and General Hospital said if anyone has continuous cough for more than three weeks, formation of mucus in the mouth, chest pain and weight loss then they should seek medical help immediately.
Treatment should be started at the earliest, he said while adding that facilities are in place at government hospitals for the treatment of TB.