LAHORE: The World Health Organisation (WHO) will extend full cooperation to Pakistan and all types of technical assistance would be provided to the Punjab TB Control Programme (PTP) for achieving the target of eradication of TB by 2030.
For the purpose, all relevant departments, institutions, social and corporate sectors have to work together with the multi-sectoral approach.
These views were expressed during the meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) TB Mission, which came from Geneva, along with the Punjab TB Control Programme officials.
The WHO TB Mission from Geneva, Switzerland, and Cairo, Egypt is on four days visit to Pakistan to review the steps taken by the local authorities for achieving the target to eradicate TB from the country.
WHO’s delegation consisted of Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Dr. Christian Gunneberg, Dr. Rana Hajjeh, Dr. Mohammad Akhter, Regional Advisor WHO and Dr. Irfan, WHO’s local representative. Additional Director PTP Dr. Asif, Dr. Usman, and Development Operations Manager Zubair Ahmad were also present.
While giving a detailed presentation to the delegation regarding the arrangements and steps taken for TB control, Provincial Director Dr Zarfishan Tahir said that at present 108 gene expert machines had been installed at the public sector health facilities for diagnosis of tuberculosis and very soon 45 more would be included in the system to complete the target of installation of 170 gene expert machines.
Moreover, 11 specialized centers have been established in tertiary care hospitals for the treatment of drug-resistant TB patients (DRT).
Dr. Zarfishan said that eight BSL II Labs and an Ultra-modern Bio Safety Level III Laboratory has been established in Lahore for performing most complicated tests. She said that 700 micro labs are also available in the health facilities in the province.
She said that LHWs were also contributing a lot to search of missing TB patients in addition to their own duties. Online reporting system installed in the hospitals, called Electronic Medical Reporting System, through which reporting, registration and data collection of such patients becomes much easier.
This system has been prepared by the PITB. The ratio of complete cure of common TB is 92 percent whereas this ratio in MDRT is 63%. Some patients escaped without completing their treatment of six months and became DRT case.
Director PTP informed the WHO TB Mission that on the direction of Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, HIV tests of TB patients have also been carried out and so far 90,000 registered TB patients have gone through this test.
The WHO mission also called on Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and held a meeting with Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid. The delegation expressed their satisfaction over the political commitment shown by the high dignitaries towards TB eradication.
The WHO Mission also visited Bio-Safety Level-III Lab. on Birdwood Road and witnessed the latest equipment and the facilities in the laboratory.
Arrangements for anti-polio drive reviewed
KARACHI: A coordination meeting of all related departments, chaired by Commissioner Sukkur Rafique Ahmed Buriro on Thursday reviewed the arrangements made for upcoming anti-polio drive in the district.
The meeting was attended by Police officials, representatives of PPHI, WHO, educational institutions and officials of allied departments of the administration.
Addressing the participants of the meeting, the Commissioner said that coordinated efforts were underway to eradicate the menace of polio once for all.
All related departments were participating in the anti-polio drive and using all available resources to make the campaign more effective and successful, he added.
He urged the polio teams to work with more commitment and dedication to achieve 100 percent results.
The administration also urged the parents and citizens to get their children vaccinated against the polio and root out the crippling disease forever.
The meeting also discussed security arrangements for the polio teams.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) to bring revolutionary changes in health sector: Expert
ISLAMABAD: Medical experts said Artificial Intelligence (AI) would bring revolutionary changes in the health sector and definitely would boost the efficiency of doctors.
In an interview, expert Artificial Intelligence (AI) Dr. Salman Ali Khan on Thursday said IA is slowly but surely becoming a part of the health-care industry and is bringing forth some revolutionary changes in the medical field.
He said it had a very big scope in the Pakistan as the country had a big score of population that was being suffering from the health issues.
“The matter of use of the AI is discussed with the President Dr. Arif Alvi and he supported the idea and expressed the hope that the AI would be proved helpful to facilitate the masses to the large extent”, he replied to a question.
He further said the main purpose of the introduction of AI into the medical field was to provide a good support system to the doctors so that they could diagnose and treat patients quickly and efficiently.
He mentioned breast cancer was rapidly increasing in the country and claiming around 80’000 deaths annually adding this would help identify cancer cells in early stages and could prevent the disease from spreading.
He stressed AI would bolster the capabilities of medical professionals and machines, making them smarter and a lot more useful besides saving the precious lives of the patients.
WHO’s guideline on digital health interventions
ISLAMABAD: World Health Organization (WHO) Wednesday released new recommendations for countries to use digital health technology, accessible via mobile phones, tablets, and computers, to improve people’s health and essential services.
According to WHO, the guideline demonstrates that health systems need to respond to the increased visibility and availability of information.
The guideline also makes recommendations about telemedicine, which allows people living in remote locations to obtain health services by using mobile phones, web portals, or other digital tools.
WHO points out that this is a valuable complement to face-to-face-interactions, but it cannot replace them entirely. It is also important that consultations are conducted by qualified health workers and that the privacy of individuals’ health information is maintained.
The guideline emphasizes the importance of reaching vulnerable populations and ensuring that digital health does not endanger them in any way.
This guideline represents the first of many explorations into the use of digital technologies and has only covered a fraction of the many aspects of digital health.
In 2018, governments unanimously adopted a World Health Assembly resolution calling on WHO to develop a global strategy on digital health to support national efforts to achieve universal health coverage. That strategy is scheduled to be considered at the World Health Assembly in 2020.
Although WHO is expanding its focus on digital health, the Organization has been working in this area for years, through the development of the eHealth Strategy Toolkit in 2012, published in collaboration with International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The guideline stresses the importance of providing supportive environments for training, dealing with unstable infrastructure, as well as policies to protect the privacy of individuals, and governance and coordination to ensure these tools are not fragmented across the health system.
The guideline encourages policy-makers and implementers to review and adapt to these conditions if they want digital tools to drive tangible changes and provides guidance on taking privacy considerations on access to patient data.