KPK – Out of 95 mobile TB diagnosis vans, not a single van is operating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan, the sub-committee of Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination learnt on Friday. However, 70 mobile TB diagnosis vans are operating in Sindh and 16 in Punjab.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Dr Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi and was attended among others by Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, joint secretary health and deputy national manager of National TB Control Program. The committee strongly recommended at least 3 to 5 mobile vans for Balochistan. The committee was told that National TB Control Program, working since 2000, is an allied body of the ministry which manages the overall work of TB prevention while implementation has to be carried out by provinces.
A total of 510,000 estimated cases were found in 2016 and 366,061 have been treated. The program gets $148 million from the global fund which is distributed between public and private sectors after consultations at Country Coordination Mechanism (CCM) meetings. Eighty-eight million dollars were given to the National TB Control Program under the federal ministry, while $45 million were given to Indus Hospital Karachi and $15 million to Mercy Corps.
Dr Aurangzeb from TB Control Program told the meeting that Indus Hospital has been repeatedly requested but it has refused to start its mobile vans in Balochistan due to security concerns. The committee asked joint secretary health to write to secretary health Balochistan as well as to the hospital to immediately send mobile vans to Balochistan.
The committee was told that 135 medical units are currently operating in Balochistan but main doctors are concentrated in big cities. Senator Ashok Kumar observed that incentives as well as security need to be given to encourage working for TB control and diagnosis in periphery areas.