608,000 new TB cases surface in Pakistan every year 

Press Release 07:53 PM, 8 Mar, 2024
608,000 new TB cases surface in Pakistan every year 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is the fifth among high-burden countries globally, with approximately 608,000 new TB cases and 15,000 drug-resistant TB cases annually, says Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, the Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination.

Speaking at the World TB Day 2024 event organized by the ministry in collaboration with the Common Management Unit (CMU) for AIDS, TB, and Malaria, alongside JSI and Dopasi Foundation, Shallwani reiterated the government's resolve to eradicate tuberculosis (TB), with to become a TB-free nation.

To confront this challenge, Shallwani emphasized the government's provision of free TB diagnostic and treatment services across over 1,500 public and private facilities, involving more than 15,000 general practitioners in TB control efforts.

He said it was a daunting task to identify and treat 2.2 million individuals affected by TB, including children and those grappling with drug-resistant TB, adding that the government aims to administer TB Preventive Treatment to over 1.2 million people.

Dr. Razia Kaniz Fatima, National Coordinator for CMU, AIDS, TB, and Malaria, stressed the need for collective action, innovation, and collaboration to accelerate progress towards eliminating TB as a public health threat.

Commending the efforts of the government and other stakeholders, Dr. Fatima emphasized the importance of person-centered public health services, trust-building, innovation, and accountability.

Dr. Muhammad Ahmed Kazi, Director-General of the health ministry pointed out the devastating impact of TB on individuals, families, and communities, urging enhanced political and social commitment to alleviate its burden. He acknowledged the relentless efforts of healthcare workers, researchers, policymakers, and communities globally to combat this ancient disease.

The event also featured a video message from Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, and Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the Global TB Programme at WHO.

Dr. Luo Dapeng, newly appointed WHO Representative to Pakistan, also spoke.

On the occasion, the success stories of two patients (DST or DR TB) were presented, followed by a panel discussion among partners, government officials, civil society representatives, community leaders, and donors.

As Pakistan observes World TB Day 2024, it reaffirms its commitment to combating TB with increased determination and collaboration, advancing closer to the vision of a TB-free future.