Mercy Corps on a mission to prevent TB in Pakistan through preventive treatment

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Mercy Corps on a mission to prevent TB in Pakistan through preventive treatment

DNA

Quetta, NOV 24: On a mission for creating nationwide awareness and advocacy for preventing tuberculosis, a one-day seminar was organized by Mercy Corps in Quetta with the title of ‘Advocacy and Awareness Seminar on TB Preventive Treatment (TPT)’.

The seminar was attended by public health professionals, private as well as public sector officials that are actively engaged in the fight against TB including Dr. Asif Anwer Shahwani, Provincial Coordinator PTP Balochistan, Dr. Maqbool Ahmed, President Pakistan Chest Society Balochistan Chapter, Dr. Attaullah Bazenjo, President Pakistan Pediatric Association, Balochistan Chapter, Prof. Dr. Shereen Khan, Chief Executive Fatima Jinnah Chest and General Hospital, Quetta, and Mr. Abdullah Khan, Secretary Health, Government of Balochistan.

As a part of the efforts to end TB in Pakistan, Mercy Corps and its partners are implementing a large-scale TB program, across the country in 120 districts, with the support of The Global Fund.  Mercy Corps interventions include engagement with the private sector health system, enhancing community awareness, public outreach to remote areas in partnership with Provincial TB Programs, Health Departments, and implementing partners. Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment (TPT) is another initiative under this program by Mercy Corps to curb the spread of the TB disease.

Dr. Saeedullah Khan, Team Leader (South) Mercy Corps, started the session with a welcome note. He highlighted the achievements of the TB program and praised the efforts of Mercy Corps Pakistan and its partners in rolling out the TPT initiative across the country.

After the opening remarks, Dr. Adeel Tahir, Senior Program, Mercy Corps while sharing about the Programmatic Management of TB Preventive Treatment (PMTPT), shared the innovative approaches adopted by Mercy Corps on the basis of latest research and international best practices. He also shed light on the background and objectives of the seminar. He gave a comprehensive briefing on the topic of ‘Burden of TB (Global Vs Pakistan), and Progress of Mercy Corps’.

Mr. Abdullah Khan, Secretary Health, Government of Balochistan, emphasized the need for collective effort from all stakeholders to eradicate TB from Pakistan.

Dr. AminUllah, Project Manager, Mercy Corps concluded the seminar with the hope to continue collaborating with all key stakeholders to spearhead the fight against TB in Balochistan with the effective use of Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment (TPT).

Participants in the session applauded the efforts of Mercy Corps and emphasized the need for innovation to reduce the burden of TB in Pakistan and discussed the misconceptions around TPT and the standard practices around TPT regimen.

The aim of the seminar was to raise awareness about TPT, its outcomes as well as benefits and sensitize public health professionals, key stakeholders, decision-makers, and private as well as public sector officials that are actively engaged in the fight against TB.

TB has remained a major public health concern around the world. Globally, it is estimated that 1.6 million people lost their lives and 10.6 million fell ill from TB in 2021. It is the second-leading infectious killer after COVID-19 and has been declared a national emergency in Pakistan since 2001. TB preventive treatment (TPT), a treatment offered to individuals who are considered to be at risk of developing disease in order to reduce that risk, is one of the key interventions recommended by the WHO to achieve the End TB Strategy targets, as upheld by the UN High Level Meeting on TB in September 2018.