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Over 13,000 people of KP contract with TB annually

Syed Kamal Hussain Shah

ABBOTTABAD: Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. When an infected person coughs, the TB bacteria present in their phlegm can be transmitted to others through the air, leading to another person becoming infected with TB.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 130000 people contract TB annually, out of which 50650 people registered and completed their treatment, while 46350 people are either lost or considered missing TB patients.
Since 1986, the Association for Community Development (ACD) has been working in collaboration with the provincial TB program under the supervision of Director Dr. Akmal Naveed and Program Manager Dr. Ali Ahmed to control TB in eighteen districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
ACD is providing free training, technical assistance, all necessary facilities, and free TB drugs to doctors, paramedics, and laboratory technicians in big private hospitals, as well as in eighteen districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Awareness meetings are also held with the community members of various remote villages in eighteen districts to educate them about the signs of TB. These meetings provide information about the symptoms of TB, including coughing for more than two weeks, mild evening fever, and occasional cold sweats, as well as offering free screening for close family members and others in contact with TB patients, as well as free TB prevention drugs.
Millions of people are affected by TB each year. Due to the lack of timely access to treatment facilities, approximately four thousand patients have to fight for their lives every day in the world.
TB is a curable disease, and its medications are readily available. However, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), TB has become a significant cause of deaths worldwide. This is why World TB Day is observed annually on March 24th to combat TB.
To diagnose TB, a phlegm test is conducted. TB medications can also be obtained free of charge from government hospitals. TB, an active form of which is known as pulmonary tuberculosis, is caused by an infection with a bacterium such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
TB generally affects the lungs, but it can sometimes affect other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes, kidneys, and bones. TB usually presents no symptoms or effects, hence it is termed as latent or hidden TB infection. Individuals with latent infection cannot spread the infection to others, and they cannot transfer bacteria to household members or close contacts.
Symptoms of TB include waking up with anxiety at night, night sweats, occasional coughing up of blood or bloody sputum, constant fatigue and weakness, loss of appetite, aversion to eating, feeling excessively cold, and having a fever. Persistent coughing or the presence of phlegm for more than three weeks, as well as chest pain, are also signs of TB.
TB is a treatable disease, with up to 100% of cases being curable, especially when controlled early on. Globally, approximately six million people contract TB each year, while in Pakistan, six hundred and eleven thousand people are affected annually. Out of these, two hundred and seventy-four thousand nine hundred and fifty people register and complete their treatment, while the rest are either lost or considered missing TB patients.