ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP):Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Nausheen Hamid Wednesday said the government was committed to take all possible measures to get rid of Tuberculosis (TB) from the country by 2030.
Addressing a workshop on ‘TB care is my right’ organized by the Stop TB Partnership and Dopasi Foundation here, she requested to all related sectors and partners to join hands to eliminate TB by the stipulated time period through newly devised strategic plan.
She said the government would implement the declaration of the United Nations’ High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis Control through all resources at its disposal and work towards ending TB in Pakistan.
She said the government would increase its health budget in more rational terms emphasizing on all elements of primary healthcare including preventive programmes and overall health strengthening system.
Dr Nausheen said she was, earnestly, looking forward to a multi-sectoral framework for the control of TB right at the grassroots level in all provinces with the support of district administration.
She expressed her gratitude to The Global Fund, WHO and all other health development partners for their financial and technical support to the provincial TB control programmes and services, which leverages the existing massive government infrastructure and human resource.
She pointed out that all the human rights of TB patients will be protected and called for a cross-sectoral approach in which increased synergy among the various sectors – relevant to health and development – would be promoted and fragmented interventions.
She appreciated that the program was adopting a people-centered approach as human rights put the individual at the center of any health policy, programme or legislation, adding that she was fully conscious of governmental obligations in this regard.
She stressed that the provincial TB control programs must focus on reaching the most vulnerable populations including women, children, minorities, refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, coal miners or prisoners.
She assured that all the marginalized and vulnerable groups would be entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.
She highlighted that the government had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child which obligated it to take appropriate measures to diminish infant and child mortality, combat disease and malnutrition.
She said the ministry would also ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and healthcare to all children with an emphasis on the integration of all primary healthcare elements such as inter-sectoral collaboration and community participation.
She also called for addressing TB and HIV together in light of the human rights dimensions, and looked forward to actively working with the Ministry of Human Rights.
National Institute of Health (NIH) Executive Director and National Coordinator, Common Management Unit for AIDS, TB and Malaria Brig Dr Amir Ikram pointed out the need to promote and support an end to stigma and all forms of discrimination, by removing discriminatory laws, policies and programmes against people with tuberculosis, and through the protection and promotion of human rights and dignity.
He hoped that by recognizing the various sociocultural barriers to tuberculosis prevention, diagnosis and treatment services, especially for those who are vulnerable or in vulnerable situations, the managers would develop integrated, people-centred, community-based and gender-responsive health services based on human rights.
He appreciated the generous contributions of The Global Fund towards the control of TB, HIV and Malaria in Pakistan.
He also thanked the World Health Organization for its ongoing technical support.
Senior Adviser of the Stop TB Partnership Dr Syed Karam Shah pointed out that globally TB was the greatest single infectious cause of death in young women, noted that while fewer women than men are diagnosed with TB, a greater percentage of women die of it and the stigma attached to having TB falls far more heavily on women.