KARACHI: Pakistan has registered accelerated decline in death rates from TB and malaria since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were established to stop the spread of these diseases by 2015.
Although less pronounced, Malaria cases in Pakistan dropped to 2.9 per cent annually between 2000 and 2013 while malaria mortality rates declined by an average of 4.6 per cent each year, recording 3,160 malaria deaths in 2013.
As per details available in the study “Global, regional, and national incidence and mortality for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria during 2000 to 2013,” TB also registered a decline with 277 cases of TB per 100,000 people in Pakistan for 2013.
In terms of new cases, Pakistan recorded 151 TB cases per 100,000 that year, said co-author of the study,Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University and Co-Director at the Center for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children.
The study, a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, was conducted by an international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
TB death rates in Pakistan (32 deaths per 100,000) were lower than those in India (58 deaths per 100,000), but were much higher than the TB mortality rates in Iran for 2013 (2.8 deaths per 100,000).
Globally the tuberculosis deaths declined at a rate of 3.7 percent.Earlier and more effective treatment has also helped shorten the duration of tuberculosis infections worldwide.
However, the authors note that aging of the population will lead to higher numbers of cases and deaths.
In both Pakistan and at the global level, the bulk of tuberculosis deaths tend to occur in older age groups.
The study first-of-its-kind analysis of trend data from 188 countries also assessed trends in annual HIV/AIDS cases and deaths throughout the world.
Contrary to the global trends with decline in HIV/AIDS induced deaths at a rate of 1.5 per cent between 2000 and 2013,it was claiming more lives in Pakistan than ever.
Mortality rates from HIV/AIDS increased 11 per cent annually from 2000 to 2013 in the country. This was in a backdrop where globally,HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis kill fewer people than they have in the past.
Pakistan was found to be experiencing the opposite with HIV/AIDS,as increasingly more people have died from the disease since 1990.
From 2000 to 2013, the country averaged a 15 per cent annual increase in rates of new HIV/AIDS infections, ultimately rising from less than 1 case per 100,000 to 6.7 per 100,000.
Far more Pakistanis die from TB each year (nearly 37,500 were killed by TB in 2013), but the country’s ongoing progress in reducing TB mortality rates starkly contrasts with its burgeoning HIV/AIDS burden, said Prof. Bhutta.
With progress in reducing HIV/AIDS at the global level, success in particular countries and regions varied as their HIV epidemics peaked and declined at different times.
The rise in the rates for HIV/AIDS in Pakistan, at a time when most countries are recording progress against the disease, exemplifies this finding and underscores the need for action.
But since HIV/AIDS still claims fewer lives in Pakistan than other infectious diseases,namely tuberculosis, the country may have the opportunity to halt its epidemic earlier than other places could in the past.
Source : APP