Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course programme has met with a great success in Sialkot district as it helped bring down the number of TB patients, disclosed a medical expert on Thursday.

He disclosed this while talking to newsmen at Daska. TB Programme district In-charge Dr Nadeem Nazeer said that the overall success rate had now jumped to 94 percent. He said that a total of 6,321 TB patients were registered in Sialkot district during the last year. He said that the number of TB patients reduced due to effective awareness against the disease in the region. Out of the patients, 3,223 had recovered after treatment while the rest are under-treatment.

He said that now the DOTS programme had also been started in District Jail of Sialkot. He said that there are 12 TB patients in the district jail. He said that 32 private doctors had also been involved in this programme for ensuring an easy access of the TB patients to the advanced medication. The DOTS programme was launched in Sialkot district in July 2001 which has met with a great success in raising anti-TB awareness at all the stages in active collaboration of the civil society, he added.

He said that 16 TB diagnostic centres and 100 TB treatment centres had been established in Sialkot district. He said that treatment for eight consecutive months and free of coast medicines were being provided there by the World Health Organisation. He said that under the new recommendations of the WHO, one person be attached with every patient to ensure proper treatment. Now, TB patient’s all the family members would be checked up. He said that the district jail had been overloaded as there were more than 2,766 prisoners while it has the capacity of only 662 prisoners. He said that the overcrowding and hot weather favour the disease spread.

He revealed that screening had now become vital to save the jail inmates from TB. He said that a TB patient causes the disease in up to 15 persons in a year. He stressed a need for creating awareness of the people in this regard.

He also sought active cooperation in fighting the disease. He said that it is curable and complete treatment, proper care, attention, love and affection play a vital role in the early recovery of patients. He said that it has already been declared as national emergency with the growing number of patients in Pakistan. He said that every second patients gives birth to a new TB patient in the world while 6 to 8 million new TB cases have been diagnosed in the world.

Around 8,000 people die of the disease daily across the world while its annual ratio is 2 to 3 billion people. This number was much high than the dying patients of Aids and malaria. Pakistan having big number of the TB patients stands at 8th position in the world. Every year in Pakistan, about 300,000 people are diagnosed as TB patients while the ages of the 75 percent such patients are between 15 to 45 years. In 2005, Pakistan got 100 percent coverage of DOTS.