World Tuberculosis Day Symposium

The WHO “End TB strategy” aims to end the global Tuberculosis epidemic, with targets to reduce TB deaths by 95% and cut new cases down by 90% between 2015 and 2035. It is towards this end that the world TB day is celebrated on 24th March each year and this year’s theme for the day was “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”.

National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) Biogenetic faculty arranged a symposium in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) events for TB on 30th March 2018, to raise public awareness and mobilize healthcare providers, scientists and the community, at large, to accelerate the progress in eradicating TB. Distinguished clinicians, scientists, and policymakers were invited to present the gravity of TB disease issue and identify solutions to address the issue at national scale. Approximately, sixty faculty members from NUMS and constituent colleges and institutes (AM College, AFIP, AFIC and AFPGMI) attended the symposium.

The importance of integrated patient-centered care and prevention, policies and supportive systems, and intensified research and innovation in ending TB was delineated to accelerate efforts for the control of TB in Pakistan.

The symposium started with an overview of NUMS by Dr. Aisha Mohyuddin, Director Research and Head of Biogenetics Department, NUMS. Dr. Syed Hussain Hadi, Advisor National TB Control Programme, Ministry of NHSR&C discussed the structure and function of the TB control program, national situation and challenges in fighting TB. He also outlined the priorities for action and future aims to control TB in Pakistan.

Prof. Dr. Matiur Rahman, Principal and Director, Riphah International University, Islamabad, enlightened the audience through a lecture on emergence of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in Pakistan. He highlighted the global and national situation, and challenges associated with diagnosis and treatment of multidrug resistant TB.

Dr. Sidra Younis, Assistant Professor, NUMS talked about immunological biomarkers of tuberculosis. She highlighted importance of biomarkers in TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment. In the end, she briefly talked about her research work on biomarker discovery for MDR-TB at NUMS. Dr. Assad Hafeez, DG Health, Dean & Head of Research & Development Health Services Academy, Islamabad explained the global and national perspective and strategy to eliminate TB.

The program ended with a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Mujtaba Quadri, Dean ORIC and Research at NUMS. Dr. Abdul Ghafoor, National Advisor MDR-TB, Dr. Wajid, Family Physician, Heart International Hospital and Dr. Muhammad Amjad Khan, international TB infection control consultant along with invited speakers shared their views, experiences and further action plans on TB control in Pakistan.

The program was concluded by Lt. Gen. Syed Imran Majeed, Vice Chancellor NUMS. The event provided a platform for promotion of scientific activities, exchange of ideas and information, and emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations between clinicians, scientists and policymakers working on TB.