At least 420,000 new patients of tuberculosis (TB) are being registered in the country annually and the number is mounting with every passing year which is an alarming situation. This was disclosed by the Dr Waseem Ramzi, District Health Officer and District Coordinator for TB Control Programme, while addressing a seminar organized in connection with World TB Day here on Thursday. “The number of patients suffering from resistant TB is also increasing and TB medicines have lost efficacy in their cases,” he further warned.

Referring to TB situation in Multan, he told the participants of the seminar that 6336 patients were registered previous year out of which 5077 were given treatment. He declared that special TB diagnosis labs were being established at six spots in Multan with the collaboration of district government and an NGO Merci Corp where the patients could avail free test facility. The labs are being set up at Kalma Chowk, Chungi No-1, Aziz Hotel Chowk, Chungi No-6, Madni Chowk and Masoom Shah Road.

He disclosed that the government had signed an international treaty under which 50 per cent of TB would be eliminated by 2015 while it would completed be wiped out of the country by 2050 in light of millennium development goal.  “A programme under the banner of TB Dot has been launched across the country to achieve this goal. Patients are being given free medicines under this scheme,” he added.

Giving statistics, he said that the blood samples of 17883 suspected patients were taken in 2013 out of which 6336 tested positive. “As many as 5077 were given treatment and they cured while 94 died and 134 never returned to TB treatment centres after their tests,” he added. He disclosed that a total of 19 diagnostic and 184 treatment centres were currently functional for TB patients in Multan district.

He declared that an awareness creation session would be held at Public School on Abdali Road on March 21 while a walk would also be held on March 24 to sensitize the students and citizen on TB. He warned that one TB patient could infect at least 15 other healthy individuals in just one year if he was not given treatment. He said that the TB patients could spread germs by spitting, sneezing and coughing.