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Monday, August 31, 2009

Centenary of the Discovery of the TB Bacillus, (1982 March 24, 1982)

The year 1982 marks the centenary of the discovery of the tubercle bacillus by Robert Koch. The World Health Organization and International Union against Tuberculosis join in celebrating this important scientific and humanitarian event.
Robert Koch was born in Germany in 1843 and pursued a career in public health. He soon turned to research and perfected a number of important techniques of bacterial investigation. On the 24th of March 1982, he announced his monumental discovery of the tubercle bacillus, which causes the killing disease known as tuberculosis. His discovery marked the first step towards the conquest of the disease.
Though tuberculosis has declined rapidly in many developed countries, it still ranks among the major health problems of the world. It is estimated that each year about 3.5 million people develop tuberculosis and more than half a million die of it.
Over the years effective techniques to prevent and stop the spread of the disease have been developed which are especially applicable to the situation in developing countries. With the discovery of powerful anti-TB drugs it has been made possible for patients to be treated at home, thus ending the need for santoria. The disease, it has been proved, can be defeated irrespective of its environment. Simplified technology as part of primary health care approach can save millions of lives.
The Government of Pakistan is exploiting all its resources to eliminate tuberculosis from the country. However, active co-operation of the private sector and volunteer organizations is extremely necessary to eradicate this disease. Efforts are being made to coordinate the activities of TB Associations constituted at various levels in the country to expedite TB eradication. It is being ensured that TB patients should get proper treatment facilities and medicines. Diagnosis of tuberculosis cases by sputum tests and chest X - Rays was undertaken in all the districts of the country in the year 1980-81 during which 267,684 patients were subjected to detailed Examination.
For the prevention of the disease BCG vaccination campaign was launched as a part of Expanded Program of immunization and 33,317,824 children have been vaccinated in a year. Emphasis is also being laid on better hygienic conditions, education and persuasion of the masses to overcome this disease.
The commemoration of one hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the tubercle bacillus should serve as an inspiration to the people everywhere to intensify the fight against tuberculosis. Pakistan Post Office is issuing a postage stamp of Re. 1/- denomination to commemorate the Centenary of the Discovery of TB bacillus.