Tuberculosis in Pakistan

December 14, 2020

According to the World Health Organization, Pakistan is ranked 5th among B High Burden Countries around the globe. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region Pakistan accounts for around 61% of the total TB cases registered. Globally Pakistan is ranked fourth in the prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), with approximately 27,000 drug-resistant TB cases emerging each year. The social construct of Pakistan leads to the transmission of TB through the sharing of utensils, spread through saliva and coughing/sneezing etc. Considering the fertility rate of Pakistan and the social construct, it is necessary to educate the masses regarding the transmission and prevention measures. According to JPMA (2016), almost 26% of the TB patients are unaware of the disease before their diagnosis. Besides this, among the general population, 10% of people are not aware of the disease. This insufficient knowledge regarding the disease is one of the significant reasons for an alarming number of TB patients. Other key reasons include diagnostic delay, inappropriate medication regimen and lack of social support.

According to the quarterly analysis done by the National TB program NIH, Islamabad the number of TB cases in Pakistan has gone up from 2014 to 2018. From 2014 to 2015, the TB cases increased by 22.4%. From 2015 to 2018, there was an increase in TB cases by 9.9%, 0.95% and 0.31% each year, respectively. From 2018 to 2019, there was a total 8.82% decrease in the number of TB cases reported all over Pakistan.

If we consider the statistics for 2019, Punjab has the highest number of registered TB cases. In 2019 Punjab accounted for 57.1% of total TB cases in Pakistan, followed by Sindh with almost 22.7% and KP with just 12.4% of reported TB cases. Considering the quarterly analysis, in Punjab and KP, the number of TB cases has decreased, whereas, in Sindh, the number remained consistent over the year.   

This blog post is written by Namra Naseem, student from the batch of 2020 at Lahore University of Management Sciences.