Published On: Mon, Nov 20th, 2023
Published in Category: Islamabad

Govt strongly committed to fighting T.B. free diagnosis & treatment available at 1,700 centers across Pakistan: Iftikhar Ali Shallwani

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ISLAMABAD: Government of Pakistan is strongly committed to eliminating T.B. and all out effort is being made in this regard. This was shared by Federal Secretary Health Iftiikhar Ali Shallwani while addressing the Union Conference on Lung Health in Paris. Substantial resources have been allocated by the Government for diagnosis and quality treatment of the disease, he shared. The Government has committed 33 million dollars to the cause. There are 1700 free state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities operating in the length and breadth of Pakistan, he shared. During the Year 2022, more than 424,566 TB cases were successfully treated across the country. The treatment success rate remained 94% of the TB cases notified in Year 2021. The diagnostic services include the network of 1,800 microscopy labs, 420 molecular diagnostics GeneXpert, 17 Culture labs and 3 DST labs. Secretary Health shared that 3,684 Drug Resistant TB cases were enrolled on second line anti TB treatment against estimated 15,900 DR TB cases through 50 DRTB health care services. He said TB/HIV Collaboration -Screening of TB patients for HIV status was performed for 61% of registered TB patients and Social Support in the form of cash incentives of PKR 12,000 per month during treatment for all enrolled patients. It was shared that training of more than 7,500 Health Care Workers through online training course for doctors and paramedics has been carried out. Federal Secretary Health shared that national TB Control Programme Pakistan, with the support of the Global Fund, WHO and other partners, is implementing a national strategic plan (NSP) 2020-2023 to end TB in Pakistan and NSP 2024-26 has also been developed. The Global Fund has allocated over USD 185 million for TB to Pakistan for the implementation period January 2024 to December 2026. Sharing way forward he said there is a plan to scale up rapid molecular diagnostics - GeneXpert machines from 420 to 774 machines in Year 2024, expansion of Digital X-Ray and Artificial Intelligence ( AI) from 12 to 136 machines for TB Diagnosis, strengthening of 37 Divisional Laboratories for epidemic preparedness through provision of 25 hi-tech PCR machines, digitalization of Provincial and District supply chain management and integration with Universal Health Coverage through strengthening of Primary Health Care are among many other steps envisaged towards eliminating T.B. he shared.