BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: Lack of awareness and access to health facilities have been identified as major causes hindering progress towards elimination of Tuberculosis in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
“Access to health facilities and lack of awareness among general public about the disease are the major causes behind the spread of the disease in such areas,” Program manager TB control program Dr Muhammad Saleem said while addressing a seminar held in connection with World TB Day at Gilgit Press Club on Thursday.
Parliamentary secretary on law Haider Khan was chief guest on the occasion.
Dr Saleem said the number of total patients contracted TB in G-B were over 4000. “This number is of those patients who are registered in centres across G-B.”
People must know that TB is no more an incurable disease and the treatment is free-of-cost in the region now, said Saleem, adding Darel, Tangeer, Chamogarh, Chakarkote, Haramosh, Chalt, Chaprote,
Ghanche and parts of Astore valley are some of the most vulnerable areas.
Spreading over 72000 square kilometers, G-B has only 22 TB centres in its 10 district, which according to experts is too little to provide the treatment to a population of nearly 2 million people.
According to Saleem, the detection rate of TB is also very poor in G-B due to lack of TB centres which needs to be increased to root out the disease which claims over 1.5 lives across the globe annually.
The seminar was also addressed by other participants including Haider Khan, highlighting the prevalence and spread of TB in the country, with particular emphasis on G-B.
“The far flung areas need to be focused on,” said Khan, adding he would help TB department approve the PC-1 which would allow hiring of staff and equipment to the department.