Pakistan

Médecins Sans Frontières Opens a Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Medical Site at District Headquarters and Teaching Hospital, Gujranwala

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Gujranwala: The international medical organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) /Doctors Without Borders has opened a Programmatic Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) site at the District Headquarters and Teaching hospital Gujranwala in collaboration with the Provincial Tuberculosis Control Programme, Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Punjab. The project aimsto diagnose and treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosisfrom Gujranwala and surrounding districts.

Tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadly infectious diseases. As per WHO, Pakistan ranks fifth among tuberculosis high-burden countries and fourth for drug-resistant tuberculosis worldwide.

According to the Provincial TB control programme, Punjab estimates 268,000 cases of tuberculosis annually, with 8,900 cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria that spread through air droplets and usually affects the lungs.
Patients with Tuberculosis generally experience serious symptoms including severe coughing, chest pain, weakness, sudden loss of weight and fever. If diagnosed in the early stages, it is treatable and curable; however, if left untreated, it can be fatal. Tuberculosis can become resistant to medications if patients don’t follow their treatment properly and thus the disease evolves into drug-resistant tuberculosis.

“MSF in Pakistan aims to provide medical assistance to people where it's needed the most”, says Frank Ross, MSF’s Country Representative in Pakistan. “Tuberculosis has a serious impact on a person’s life and becomes more serious if it turns into multi-drug resistance Tuberculosis. The treatment for drugresistant TB can take months and it makes the patients vulnerable in the community due to the associated social stigma.”

The newly established Gujranwala PMDT clinic supported by MSF will provide free of cost treatment to patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis. It will offer a patient-centred model of care that has diagnosis and treatment all under one roof.

MSF will also conduct outreach activities in order to raise awareness and make patients follow up. The teams will liaise with rural health and basic health centres to help build capacity and improve proper sample collection and transportation of those samplesto the selected TB diagnostic facilities and refer the patients to the PMDT site in the district.

About MSF

Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF first started working in Pakistan in 1986, and now provides urgently needed quality medical care to people in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces.

MSF works in collaboration with the health authorities in the country and its activities in Pakistan are funded solely by private donations, with no institutional or government contributions.

For more information contact:

Zahra Shoukat
Communication Officer - Medecins Sans Frontieres
Cell No: +92 345 - 344 779 1
Email: MSF-Pakistan-Com-officer@msf.org