Peshawar: The TB Control Programme, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa organized a consultative workshop to develop a comprehensive strategy to create awareness on TB across the province in order to make people aware of diagnostic and treatment services that are available free of cost to TB patient. A strong awareness campaign will not only help TB patients to get proper treatment rather this will also help stop its spread.
For this purpose, the consultative workshop called on all stakeholders Health Department, Executive District Officer, District TB Coordinators and implementing partners of TB Control Programme to compile their valuable recommendations for Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization ACSM to be incorporated in the strategy so that the free
diagnostic and treatment facilities could be properly utilized and the threat of MDRTB could be reduced.
The Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization ACSM strategy is developed to assist in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of ACSM activities to influence behaviour and mobilize communities to create long term normative shifts towards desired behaviors.
The strategy includes practical guidelines which are being developed by Provincial TB Control Programme, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa supported by the Government of Pakistan and KFW German Development Bank.
Major objectives of the strategy include mobilization of political commitment and resources for TB, improve case finding and treatment adherence, combat stigma and discrimination and to empower people affected by TB as Pakistan ranks 5th among high burden TB countries in the world. An estimated 50,000 new TB cases occur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa every year.
“In 2012, TB Control Programme Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was able to register 35848 patients with 94% treatment success rate. World Health Organization has estimated about 1500 cases of Multi Drug Resistance MDRTB annually in the province.
The Programme’s target is to enhance the capacity of public and private sectors to detect and manage 80% of the estimated smear positive MDRTB incident cases by 2015, said Dr. Ubaid Hussain, the Project Director, TB Control Programme.
While drawing attention to the present government’s priorities, the Director Health Services Dr. Abdul Ghafoor stressed the need for focusing on union council level interventions that would result in empowered communities for the huge toll that TB takes in many households and for attracting political and financial support for the long term, including preventive interventions as well as treatment and care. He also highlighted poverty as a major cause of TB and emphasized on the working groups to address this issues in the strategy.
The forum also highlighted the role of media in educating communities about health and social issues relating to TB and recommended that media needs to be mobilized through strong coordination.