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TB screening programme starts in Punjab

Press ConferenceLahore: A screening programme is being started in 36 districts of Punjab to detect childhood tuberculoses. Earlier this programme was being implemented only in 12 districts. Pakistan is on fifth in the world according to ratio of TB disease and more than four lakh patients are being included every year.

This was disclosed by Provincial Coordinator of Provincial Tuberculoses Programme, Punjab Health Department Dr. Drakshan Badar while giving a briefing to media representatives on World TB Day, here today. This consultative meeting and press briefing was arranged with the collaboration of an NGO Mercy Corps and Global Fund which are working for preventing tuberculoses disease.

Dr. Drakshan Badar told that now the TB patient has to take medicines only six months without any break which is being given to the patient directly under DOTS programme. She said that the number of such TB patients is increasing who do not complete their treatment due to which this disease becomes more complicated and fatal. She stressed upon the media to create awareness among the people that the TB patients should continue the medicines till complete recovery. Dr. Drakshan Badar disclosed that free medicines are being provided to the TB patients under Punjab TB Control Programme in hospitals and health centers throughout the province including Ghulab Devi hospital with the cooperation of Merci Corps and Global Fund.

Dr. Drakshan Badar said that poverty, increasing population, spread of cities without planning, lack of civic amenities, populated areas and shortage of food are the basic causes of tuberculoses disease. She told that a screening programme is being started in all districts of Punjab to detect childhood tuberculoses. She further said that diagnostic and treatment facilities have also been provided in jails to detect TB in prisoners. She said that earlier the prisoners had to come to district hospitals or Ghulab Devi hospital and now this facility is available at local level. Moreover, screening of new prisoners is also made for timely diagnosis and treatment. She further said that 530 centers are working for diagnosing TB whereas 2899 centers for treatment in Punjab.

Dr. Drakshan Badar stressed upon the media to play its effective role for creating public awareness against TB so that such people in which symptoms of continuous fever, cough and weight loss are found should immediately visit nearest hospital or health center for diagnosing TB where all medical facilities are being provided free of cost.

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