Japan, WHO to combat TB in Afghanistan
KABUL (Pajhwok): The government of Japan and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday signed an Exchange of Notes for a project to support the procurement of anti-tuberculosis drugs and the development of a drug management system to fight the tuberculosis (TB) burden in Afghanistan.
A statement from the Japanese Embassy in Kabul said that the signed grant is for JPY 1.235 billion (around id="mce_marker"2 million or 700,000,000 AFN). Afghanistan is one of 22 countries with a high burden of TB. In 2013, 58,000 new cases occurred, resulting in 13,000 deaths. Women are particularly vulnerable to the disease as they constitute two-thirds of TB patients.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis, caused mainly by poor management and treatment of regular TB cases by low quality of TB drugs, has emerged as a serious challenge, an issue that the project will also address, the statement added.
“The government of Japan and JICA have supported the work of the Ministry of Public Health in many spheres, especially in the TB Control Programme. We are grateful for their generous assistance and support, and look forward to our continued cooperation with the government of Japan and WHO to bring about further improvements in healthcare and fight the TB burden in Afghanistan,” said Dr. Suraya Dalil, acting minister of public health.
The project, which will be implemented by WHO and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), involves the procurement of laboratory consumables and essential drugs for TB care, the introduction of a Drug Management System and trainings for over 900 healthcare providers on drug management over a three-year period.
It is estimated that more than 113,000 diagnosed TB patients will benefit from the project by receiving free treatment and over 565,000 people with suspected TB will be tested for diagnosis.
“In the early 20th century, TB was Japan’s top cause of death. Improvements in public health changed the situation, and bringing such experience, Japan has been assisting Afghan efforts in fighting TB since 1960’s. In the past decade, Japan has been supporting the establishment of a countrywide TB diagnosis system to enable people to reach appropriate TB testing and treatments. Japan continues to strongly support healthcare for Afghans,” said, Hiroshi Takahashi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
“The government of Japan’s support to the TB control programme is absolutely essential for ensuring that we can effectively tackle the burden of tuberculosis which remains a major public health problem in this country,” said Dr Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Country.
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