Pakistani authorities are pulling all the stops to get rid of tuberculosis (TB) on its territory by training staff, adopting new technologies, and fighting stigmatization.
“Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc are being trained, and the latest machinery is being provided for diagnoses of all kinds of TB, with tertiary care hospitals in urban areas treating hundreds of patients monthly,” explains senior staff nurse Khadija Shaheen. “While the situation is different in rural areas because of lack of awareness, there is increasing access to treatment.”
The bacterial infection, which mainly attacks the lungs, is the world’s deadliest infectious disease despite being easily treatable. Hence the need to bring awareness through a multi-sectoral framework destined to, among other things, develop toll-free hotlines to inform and help the population because “unregistered TB cases are one of the main hurdles in controlling the TB in Pakistan,” states Dr. Abdul Wali Khan, public health expert, and Pakistan’s National TB Control Programme (NTP) Manager. As many citizens are reluctant to visit hospitals, programs such as The Pakistani Lady Health Worker are proven to be most valuable by equipping female health workers with the right skills to identify TB cases and treat them in people’s homes since they go door-to-door in rural communities. NTP is successfully establishing a vast care and surveillance network to find and treat patients along with the support of The Global Fund and other partners. The Programme received $18 million through The Global Fund, plus domestic funding, to pursue its efforts to curb tuberculosis.