Government College University hosts an awareness seminar for World Tuberclosis Day

According to media reports, the Government College University (GCU) Lahore on Monday organized a seminar in connection with World Tuberculosis (TB) Day. During the seminar, the speakers stressed investment in health education campaigns to combat the disease and said:

Tuberculosis kills more people than COVID-19 every year in Pakistan despite the availability of treatment.

Who attended the seminar?

GCU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Asghar Zaidi hosted the seminar, which eminent health experts addressed, including Director General Health Services Punjab Dr. Haroon Jahangir, WHO Pakistan National Professional Officer (TB) Khawaja Laeeq Ahmad, and Punjab TB Control Programme Manager Dr. Sarmad Waqar Siddiqui.

Health Experts discussion during the Seminar

The health experts stressed combating social stigmas attached to TB, saying that these stigmas make it more difficult for patients to seek diagnosis and treatment. Speaking on occasion, Khawaja Laeeq Ahmad said:

Almost 0.6 million new tuberculosis cases are reported in Pakistan every year, while it kills 46,000 people in a year despite the availability of treatment. The health sector could not fight TB alone; there were many social and economic determents attached to it, including malnutrition, poor living conditions, higher levels of population mobility, poor housing and environmental conditions, lack of awareness, and access to healthcare. Investment doesn’t mean money only; it is also about investing time and human resources in health education campaigns.

Dr. Sarmad Waqar Siddiqui educated the students about the TB symptoms, such as a persistent cough that lasts more than three weeks and usually brings up phlegm, which may be bloody, weight loss, tiredness, and high temperature. He talked in detail about the six-month medicine-based treatment for drug-sensitive TB and other treatments available for drug-resistant TB free-of-cost across Pakistan.

Prof Dr. Asghar Zaidi said:

Patients often face significant social and economic barriers that delay their contact with health systems, including fear of stigmatization and lack of social support. He said GCU Medicare Society and Disease Awareness Society play a crucial role in raising awareness against different diseases among students.

Dr. Haroon Jahangir Khan said:

There was no disease which health sector could combat alone; it is the collective responsibility of all of us to provide awareness to people about TB and other diseases. In 2018 alone, TB claimed around 1.5m lives across the world, and the worst-affected countries include Pakistan, where the disease burden was considered to be the fifth-highest in the world.

The seminar ended with the VC leading an on-campus walk to raise awareness about TB.

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