Islamabad - Around 100,000 cases of tuberculosis (T.B) in the country remain unreported every year despite the availability of public and private facilities established to eliminate the disease, said the Minister for Health on Monday.

Federal Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said this in an event organized here to celebrate the World T.B Day.

The minister said that 1700 medical facilities in public and private set-up are providing free of cost T.B treatment yet 100,000 patients are not registered anywhere. She added that 44000 patients die fighting the disease

“Diagnosing the dieses is still an obstacle for the health sector,” she said.

Tarar said that around half a million people in the country are suffering from the disease while the government is committed to eliminate it from the country by 2030.

“All resources are being mobilized to fight TB and we are committed to end TB by 2030 in line with SDGs,” she said.

She said that in 2016, around 69% of the estimated TB cases were notified and put on treatment while more than 90% of the TB patients notified were successfully treated.

“More than 120 advanced diagnostic facilities and 32 specialized treatment facilities have been established across the country for free of cost diagnosis and treatment for MDR TB patients,” minister said.

“In 2016 alone, 366,000 TB cases were notified and enrolled on treatment,” she said.

Minister further said that we have a strong co-operation and partnership with the private sector. Today more than 3500 General Practitioners, 125 NGO health centres, 2,000 Pharmacies, 35 private hospitals and 45 Para-statal hospitals in 88 districts are engaged in TB control.

Minister shared that for Multiple Drug Resistance (MDR) TB Pakistan has a treatment success rate of 65 percent which is higher than the average global success rate.

Minister also said that malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation, compounded by other risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use and diabetes contribute to the problem.

Minister said that the heaviest burden is carried by vulnerable groups such as women, children, older people, migrants, refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities, miners and people working and living in risk-prone settings.

The current situation warrants urgent action by gearing up the efforts to find missing TB cases.

“We must expand public private partnerships and adopt multi-sector approach involving Education, agriculture, housing, social welfare, and others,” said minister

Manager National TB Control Program Dr. Nasir said the current challenges being faced in the fight against this disease include the missing TB cases. He stressed on the need for Inter-sector collaboration to find these missing cases.

He said that 10.5 million people globally are suffering from the disease while 1.8 million die out of them.

‘We cannot defeat the menace of this disease without the collaboration of all the sectors of the society i.e. housing, food, environment, social welfare etc’ he said.

WHO Additional Director General Dr. Minghui Ren shared the global and regional scenario of TB and the need of domestic funding to narrow the funding gap.

He also stressed on the importance of integration of HIV and TB services in order to better serve the needs of people with co-infections.