The Commemorative Postage Stamp will be available for sale on and from the 10th January, 1967 at all important Post Offices, Philatelic Bureaux and Philatelic Counters in Pakistan and also at some of the Pakistan Diplomatic Missions abroad.
Every year, during Eid-ul-Fitr, the Pakistan National Tuberculosis Association issues T. B. Seals and launches a campaign for their sale. Through the sales of T. B. Seals an attempt is made to reach the common man and make him cons-cious of the scourge and seek his individual help in its eradica-tion. To give an impetus to this campaign, the Pakistan Post Office is issuing on 10th January, 1967 a postage stamp of 15 Paisa denomination.
Pakistan has a population of 99.8 million, growing at the rate of nearly 2~ per cent a year, a very low per capita income and a literacy rate of 18 per cent. It is beset with many major health problems; the biggest being Tuberculosis. With an estimated incidence of 8 to 9 per cent in urban and 2 per cent in rural areas, it makes a staggering total annually of over 2 million people suffering from Tuberculosis and about 0.2 million dying from it. Soon after Pakistan’s Birth, a few professional and public-spirited men and women in different parts of the coun-try got together, separately but simultaneously, and formed Tuberculosis Associations at Lahore, Dacca and Karachi on a purely voluntary basis. Today there are 87 Tuberculosis Asso-ciations in Pakistan covering practically every district in the country. To co-ordinate and direct the activities of these Asso-ciations, the National Tuberculosis Association of Pakistan was formed in 1959. The executive committees of the National, Provincial and District Associations are composed of members of the medical profession, a few government officials but predominantly of pri-vate persons, both men and women from various levels of society. It was realised from the beginning that without the active co-operation of all the three elements, success would be impossible to achieve. All the Associations are now In the process of building up an anti-tuberculosis movement, which would embrace the entire population of the country and are attempting to make the people realise that the control of Tuberculosis is their personal concern.
The first and foremost objective of Tuberculosis Associations in Pakistan is to educate, mobilise and stir public opinion. This work is conducted through two committees viz.: Health Education Committee and Publicity Committee. Both these committees are composed mainly of volunteers. In Pakistan, where literacy is low, Health Education has to be given top priority. It serves the dual purpose of preventing disease and at the same time creating an awareness of the problem posed by Tuberculosis and mobilising Public opinion in favour of anti-tuberculosis measures. Encouraged by the response from public and government, the National Tuberculosis Association of Pakistan has formulated a 15 year plan for the control of Tuber-culosis which was adopted by Government in its 20-year plan and foreign Health Agencies whose help is being sought under this plan.
Facilities for treatment of the tubercular in many areas of Pakistan either do not exist at all or are inadequate. Tuberculosis associations were, therefore, compelled to give top priority in their programme to the opening of clinics wherever possible using their own financial resources. Within the last few years twenty clinics have been opened in various parts of Pak-istan and are being run and maintained by them. The ultimate object, of course, is to hand over these clinics to official agencies as soon as possible. Volunteers and voluntary agencies in Pakistan are materially assisting official and Government agencies by providing certain forms of occupational therapy and other amenities to TB, patients in hospitals. Small rehabilitation centres have been opened in Lahore and Karachi where the cured patient is employed and earns while he learns a trade. These centres also employ dependent members of the family of a T.B patient who is still under treat-ment at home or in hospital.
In prevention and early detection also, voluntary agencies are playing an important part. T.B Associations have been carrying on incessant propaganda with their two slogans namely (1) “Take B.C.G. Vaccination” (2) “Have Your chest X-rayed”. These services are offered free to every member of the public. Mass miniature radiography for early detection of cases is being tried in just a few towns of Pakistan. It will take some time before it becomes available in all towns.
It is evident from what has been said before that for the control of Tuberculosis in a developing country the services of volunteers are needed. Fortunately, there are facilities in Pakistan for the training of social workers. For the Tuber-culosis Control Programme thousands of paid workers and volunteers, doctors, nurses, health visitors, health education officers, medical social workers and technicians are needed. The Government of Pakistan has introduced in its present 20-year plan many measures to step up its anti-tuberculosis activities. It has undertaken to open additional clinics, to increase the number of beds and to augment the number of B.C.G. Teams. Through incessant propaganda, public opinion has created a consciousness of the Tuber-culosis problem. It is the job of volunteers, working through organised voluntary associa-tions to develop that consciousness to a point where it would be possible to introduce effective measures for the total control of Tuberculosis in Pakistan.