Treating and Controlling Tuberculosis in Pakistan

Direct Relief is strengthening efforts to treat and control tuberculosis (TB) in Pakistan through a partnership with Bethania Hospital, the largest center for TB control in the densely populated Punjab region.

Though tuberculosis  – a contagious disease spread by coughing and sneezing that usually attacks the lungs – no longer causes the death of one out of every seven people in Europe and the Americas, as it did in the late 19th century, tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world today. Nearly 1.5 million deaths from TB occur each year, mostly in developing countries.

In Pakistan, approximately 420,000 new TB cases emerge every year and 1.5 million people in Pakistan live with the disease, ranking the country fifth among TB high-burden countries worldwide.

While much progress is to be made, there is a reason to have hope this World Tuberculosis Day, recognized March 24.

Certified by the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy and strengthened by organizations like Direct Relief, Bethania Hospital can offer free medical services in a region of Pakistan with so many living below the poverty line, who would otherwise be unable to receive high-quality care at affordable cost.

Last year, 1,200 people living with TB received completely free diagnoses, treatment and meals at Bethania, while 8,500 additional suspected cases of TB were addressed in their laboratories.  But it is not enough to detect, diagnose and treat on the premises, so the staff also trains community health workers who reach out to neighboring villages to educate the public as well.

Three Direct Relief staff members visited the site last fall and were overwhelmed by gratitude from those working at Bethania  – like Ilyas who gave Direct Relief staff a tour of the hospital grounds, including their 24-hour pharmacy, and their modern laboratory offering a range of analysis.  He informed the staff that Bethania also has its information technologies department to support their system of inventorying donated product and monitoring and evaluating their patients.

Over the last few years, Direct Relief has had the privilege of supporting Bethania Hospital with nearly $800,000 worth of donated medicine and medical supplies. Aided by this support, every day Bethania Hospital moves closer to their goal to control tuberculosis in the heart of the Punjab.

  1. Not sure if you can help but thought it was worth a try…
    My mother (now 86) lived in Pakistan when she was first married in 1951, and had her first son there in 1952. She lived there for 3 years and has not been back since. She has visited India however a couple of times in the 60s&70s.
    A recent chest x-ray has revealed something and she has been referred to have a CT scan. One of the conditions they think it could be is TB. Do you know if TB could lie dormant for as long as 60 years?! The only symptoms she has are a slightly persistent cough, though not with blood, and more recently fatigue and aching joints. All of which could simply be of course old age. Other than arthritis is a couple of joints she is in good overall health.
    Any feedback would be much appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Caroline Palmer

  2. Hi, Caroline,

    Yes, TB can lie dormant. See more information here:

    We wish your mother a good recovery.

  3. How can i contact the direct relief; i am currently in islamabad and diagonsed of having Pulmonary TB.

  4. My mother has persistant cough for last couple of months. A CT scan shown mass in luungs as doctor asked for Tru Cut Biopssy. the report has shown ” Granulomatous Inflamation Most likley Truberculosis”

    she also have a tumor in her left breast.

    please guide what to do

  5. Firstly go for sputum examination for a.f.b . then if it is negative for a.f.b, go for tru cut biopsy of that mass present in lung. In my opinion as she had tumour in breast, there is more chances of metastasis in lung as compare to tuberculosis.

  6. Hi Mohammad ALi,
    TB Treatment is being provided free please contact TB Department at Bethania Hospital +92-052-4263236-304,

    We can diagnose your pulmonary positive TB even u are at home just send your sputum via courior to Inchage TB Lab Bethania HOspital, Sialkot. or send sms on +923216114773.

    We are always looking fowrared for needy TB patients.