Daily Times (Pakistan) (02.17.2014)
Aids Weekly Plus
The Daily Times (Islamabad) reported that Pakistani citizens asked public hospitals to develop and carry out an “extensive plan” to ensure that staff properly implement Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) for TB patients. The citizens charged that although the government allocated sufficient DOTS resources, apathetic medical staff failed to adhere to World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended DOTS treatment methodology. Government estimates indicated TB incidence in Pakistan was 181 cases per 100,000 people annually, TB notification was 150 cases per 100,000 people per year, and the treatment success rate was 85 percent. WHO estimated that 43 percent of TB incidence in the Eastern-Mediterranean region occurred in Pakistan, which ranked sixth among the 22 countries with the highest TB burden.
A Pakistani official asserted that the government had developed TB treatment training and education materials and that all healthcare providers had received DOTS training. The government established 982 microscopy centers to provide free TB testing and diagnosis; provided five reference laboratories (one federal and four provincial); and implemented external quality assurance for sputum microscopy in 40 districts of Pakistan. The official stated that 700,000 Pakistanis received free DOTS, and the country had achieved 100-percent coverage with WHO-recommended DOTS.
Dr. Sharif Astory, of the Federal Government Poly Clinic, described TB as “an infectious bacterial disease” transmitted via “droplets from the throat and lungs of people” with active TB. Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections in healthy people could cause no symptoms. Active TB symptoms could include coughing, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. Astory stated that a six-month antibiotic treatment course could cure TB.