Tuberculosis (TB) is highly prevalent and one of the largest killers of women of reproductive age globally.
Pregnancy has a higher risk of latent and active TB and is associated with adverse outcomes including preterm labor, spontaneous abortions, growth restriction and/or small for gestational age neonates, all leading to increased maternal, neonatal & child morbidity and mortality.
The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women be screened for TB at each antenatal care visit in areas where prevalence is at least 100 cases per 100,000. Antenatal clinics are therefore an important platform for identifying TB-infected women of reproductive age. However, a majority of these maternal facilities are not adequately equipped to provide TB screening and treatment, leaving pregnant mothers and their newborns at a great risk of developing this life-threatening disease.
IRD Pakistan has partnered with 6 existing public and private health service providers in Karachi to initiate an antenatal care program focused on integrating TB screening in maternal and child health services.
The objective is to timely identify active TB in in pregnant women seeking antenatal care in tertiary care settings in Karachi, Pakistan and to estimate the prevalence of TB in pregnant women seeking maternal services. Additionally, the program aims to raise awareness about TB among female patients and ensures effective antenatal, postnatal and neonatal TB disease management. After screening, all identified TB positive patients are referred to the hospital for comprehensive treatment and counseling. For children born to mothers with active TB, our program provides safe and comfortable means for screening and testing neonates – all within 24 hours of birth and prior to their discharge.
Over 100,000 pregnant women have been screened at 6 tertiary care centers in Karachi with 2% diagnosed as MTB positive. Neonatal assessment for cross-sectional transmission were also done on neonates born to TB positive mothers.