LAHORE - Indian dominates the list of six countries where Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of deaths, a press release issued by Shaukat Khanum Friday.

Tuberculosis is one of the leading killer diseases worldwide. Six countries account for 60 per cent of the total TB incidences worldwide, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

“It is curable and preventable, but last year, World Health Organization reported that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2015, making it the top infectious killer worldwide,” said Dr Faheem Butt, ConsultantPulmonologist at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, on World Tuberculosis Day.

Dr Faheem further stated that Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is spread from person to person through the air and most often affect the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body like brain, bones, glands and intestines etc.

“When people with lung-TB cough, they propel the germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected. People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill with TB of 10%.

“However, its impact is amplified with preexisting malnutrition and other co morbid conditions like HIV or any disease that compromises the natural immune system of the individual. Common symptoms of active lung TB are cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats,” he added.

The senior doctor further stressed people should know that TB is curable if detected early and properly treated. “If not identified and treated properly, it can be fatal.”

Another important challenge is emergence of multidrug resistant (MDR) TB in Pakistan which is increasing at an alarming rate and according to WHO estimation Pakistan is the fourth highest burden country for MDR TB worldwide.

In his message, Dr Faheem Butt advised anyone with persistent cough, fever and weight loss, should seek medical advice. Once diagnosis of TB is made (which may include chest X-rays, sputum testing), must adhere to prescribed medicines by the consultant. TB is contagious, so the patient of TB must take extra care to save others, he suggested.

‘NOTIFIABLE DISEASE’

Minister for Primary & Secondary Health Kh Imran Nazir says all resources would be utilised for elimination of tuberculosis from the country and Punjab.

He was addressing an MoU signing ceremony between Punjab TB Control Programme and Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday.

“The government has decided to declare TB as notifiable disease after that all the doctors, homeopaths, hakeems and quacks would be bound to report patients to the PTCP,” the minsiter said, adding that Punjab TB Control Programme and LCCI would coordinate in search of TB patients in industrial workers.

PTCP Director Dr Zarfashan Tahir and LCCI President Abdul Basit signed the documents.

The LCCI will provide access to the Health Department to approximately 2 million industrial workers for screening.

Dr Zarfashan Tahir informed that TB Control Programme would provide coupons to LCCI for industrial workers and in case of symptoms, he can contact the programme for free diagnosis and treatment.

LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior vice president Amjad Ali Jawa, Shahid Iqbal Butt, Mian Zahidur Rehman, Malik Tariq, Malik Gulzar Ahmed and Sheikh Abrar also addressed the ceremony.