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Tale of a strong commitment Does TB still exist? The most frequently asked question of the policy makers - who decide people’s fate at district level. It is an indicator of lack of information of the policy makers toward such a critically important public health issue, which if not addressed timely can play havoc with lives of the poor. Moreover, it also shows the commitment towards TB and TB patients on their ladder of priorities. So where to fix the blame? We as health care providers who failed to highlight the magnitude of problem or the district government who are unfamiliar to the problems of their masses. Looking through the lens of Manager, our vision should be on how to mould such a situation in our favor so that we could maximize our gains out of it. Sometimes our perceptions about certain segment of society is also a hindrance in our way to move ahead, for example politicians - often we look at them as self centered, disinterested and careless about the well being of their masses. But going through the case study of Mr. Gohar Saifullah, District Nazim Kohat will dispel most of our these impressions. Mr. Gohar Saifullah working as district Nazim has displayed strong commitment to social sector particularly health and specially TB control. He is the one who approved the dispensary for Rukwan, a far flung and neglected area of district Kohat, and managing a trust named Saifullah Trust. Mr. Saifullah along with his colleagues made a visit to TB diagnostic centre to observe the procedure of management of TB patients. It is pertinent to mention that in the history of TB Control Programme, the first ever District Top Executive paid visit to a TB center. The commitments of Nazim do not end here, he directed all concerned departments to shoulder the responsibilities of awareness raising with TB Control Programme. As a result EDO Education, Social Welfare Department, Literacy for All Programme and Information Department endorsed the idea of incorporating TB in their sphere of work. Any developmental Programme that strives for ameliorating the conditions of down trodden society can’t achieve its best if it fails to look after their sustainability and it is only possible by exploring and exploiting indigenous resources. Believing on this vision Provincial TB Control Programme NWFP initiated a process of resource mobilization from district Kohat. When the team approached District Nazim his first question was Does TB still exist? The question didn’t prove shocking and unexpected as team was aware that TB is placed on the back seat of political commitment at district level not because politician don’t want to support the programme but because we failed to broaden our vision in understanding the role of district governments. In response to the question by Mr. Gohar Saifullah, the team apprised him of TB, efforts of Health department in tackling TB problem and the challenges faced by the Programme at district Kohat. Among the challenges the focus of the Programme was on creating community awareness, earmarking separate budget for awareness raising and designing a comprehensive response to TB by line departments. The deliberation proved effective as Mr. Saifullah realized the importance to tackle TB on priority and also that the district government could play a pivotal role in addressing this challenge. After series of meetings with district government the conclusion was that the District Government will financially support TB Control Programme in arranging awareness sessions at every union council of district Kohat. The support of District Leadership has provided a policy impetus to TB Control Programme in the context that if district leadership is approached and informed about TB and its related challenges, their support can be channelized into meaningful inputs. Collected & Compiled by: Ms. Shandana Khisro, ACSM Task Coordinator (PTP, NWFP) Editied by: Ms. Mariam Raza, Task Coordinator (NTP, Islamabad) Posted On : 31-Dec-69

Dated: 2013-05-31