As a part of its initiative towards preventing tuberculosis (TB) in Pakistan, Mercy Corps, in collaboration with TB Control Program Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Association for Community Development (ACD), and Greenstar Social Marketing (GSM), organized a one-day seminar titled ‘Advocacy and Awareness Seminar on TB Preventive Treatment (TPT)’. Mercy Corps and its implementing partners with the financial support of The Global Fund are actively implementing a comprehensive TB program in 120 districts of Pakistan.
Over the years, Mercy Corps has been engaging the private health sector, boosting community awareness, and conducting outreach activities, including remote areas of Pakistan through collaboration with the National TB Control Program (NTP) and Provincial TB Control Programs (PTPs), Health Departments, and its implementing partners. The TPT initiative is a pivotal component of Mercy Corps’ strategy aimed at curtailing the spread of TB.
The seminar in Peshawar commenced with a profound sense of purpose and dedication, as attendees gathered to address the pressing issue of TB. The event started with a welcome address and opening remarks by Dr. Muddassar Shahzad, Project Director, Provincial TB Control Program, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that set the tone for an insightful and impactful day.
“Pakistan ranks 5th among the high burden countries affected by TB, with Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) posing as a major challenge, leading to prolonged treatment of affected patients.” said Dr. Muddassar Shahzad. He emphasized the need for using TPT to reduce the burden of TB in the province and in Pakistan.
Fayyaz Sherpao, Special Secretary Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ensured all stakeholders of his support to spearhead the efforts for the eradication of TB.
Habibullah, Special Secretary Budget and Development appreciated the efforts of Mercy Corps and its implementing partners for the eradication of TB.
Dr. Adeel Tahir, Senior Program Manager at Mercy Corps, while sharing the background and objectives of seminar said, “In the quest to combat TB, our unified efforts are crucial. This seminar serves as a platform to share knowledge and foster collaboration, bringing us closer to a future free from the burden of TB.”
Dr. Akmal Naveed, Director ACD, emphasized the significance of collective action, saying, “Addressing tuberculosis requires a multifaceted approach. Through collaboration and awareness, we aim to not only curb the spread of TB but also empower communities with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves.”
Dr. Zafar Iqbal, President, Pakistan Chest Society, KP emphasized the need for enhanced contact tracing to identify missing patients of MDR TB for the prevention of the disease.
The primary aim of this seminar was to bolster efforts in preventing tuberculosis within the region. This targeted seminar sought to disseminate crucial information about TPT, fostering awareness among stakeholders. By engaging with healthcare professionals, and decision-makers, the seminar aims to catalyze collective action against TB, contributing to the broader mission of ending TB in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and aligning with the national goal of eradicating TB from Pakistan by 2035.