KARACHI  -    Annual death rate caused by Tuberculosis (TB) has significantly declined in Pakistan where approximately 500,000 new cases are registered every year, said experts while addressing a seminar organised by Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) here on Monday.

The seminar was organised to commemorate World TB Day was followed by a public awareness walk largely participated by students, faculty members and patients attending TB clinics at the university’s Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases.

On the occasion, Pro-Vice Chancellor DUHS Prof Mohammad Masroor stressed that public awareness is crucially needed to prevent fresh instances of the disease and also to contain associated morbidity and mortality.  “A TB patient may transmit the disease to another 8 to 10 uninfected people through coughing or sneezing and his or her family members are the first ones to get affected,” he informed. Emphasizing public awareness about prevention of the disease, he said that 25 percent of the patients in the country report with latent TB, that is, they are infected by the TB bacteria but do not transmit the infection any further.

“They too need to be properly treated so as to help eliminate the bacteria from their body,” said the speaker mentioning that the treatment of TB is a collective responsibility of the society.  Prof Nisar Ahmed Rao, Head of Ojha Institute of Chest Disease, Dr Ismat Ara Khursheed, Director Sindh TB control Program, Dr Shaheena Qayyum, representative of an international NGO - working for TB Control, Dr Saifullah and Dr Nadeem Ahmed also addressed the event.

Prof Mohammad Masroor also led the walk that commenced from Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases and culminated at the Dow International Medical College.

On the occasion, certificates of appreciation and gifts were distributed to 26 senior most employees of the Ojha Institute of Chest Diseases for their services to the cause enabling many of the patients to fully recover from the disease.

These are the people who are committed to help country acquire TB Free status and despite knowing that it can be easily contracted due to little negligence served the TB patients wholeheartedly, said Prof Nisar Ahmed Rao.