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Japan pledges $8.6m to Afghanistan for TB patients

Japan pledges $8.6m to Afghanistan for TB patients

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On
Mar 20, 2017 - 16:01

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Japan on Monday pledged $8.6 million to Afghanistaninfo-icon for treatment of TB patients and preventing the disease spread in the country.

The new pledge is a top-up to over $58 million of funding provided by Japan since 2004 to support the fight against TB in Afghanistan.

Ambassador of Japan Mitsuji Suzuka, Worldinfo-icon Healthinfo-icon Organization (WHO) representative in Afghanistan Dr Richard Peeperkorn and JICA chief representative Takeshi Watanabe signed the 3-year agreement, the Embassy of Japan said in a statement.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Afghan Minister of Public Health His Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz.

The project will be implemented in coordination with WHO and JICA, who has been rolling out technical cooperation projects in Afghanistan over past 13 years.

The funds will support continuous efforts by the government of Afghanistan through WHO and partners to provide critical anti-TB medicines to treat drug-susceptible as well as drug-resistant TB.

The anti-TB medicines will be available for free at all health facilities and through DOTS programme across the country.

 “Japan has long contributed to the health sector, especially fighting against the infectious diseases including TB in Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Suzuka, speaking at the event.

He said Japan had the experience of overcoming spread of TB and now led the global health cooperation.

“Because TB is the common threat of both Japan and Afghanistan, so far and from now on, Japan will continue to work closely with the Afghan government and international partners for anti-TB cooperation.”

He said Japan’s brand-new anti-MDR-TB medicine will be introduced in Afghanistan. “I hope our assistance and our technology will save more and more Afghan people from TB.”

Dr. Feroz said Japan had been supporting the Ministry of Public Health especially in the health sector and more specifically TB Control Program in Afghanistan  for more than four decades now.

“Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to thank all the Japanese experts who have contributed to the National TB Control Program.”

He said special thanks went to Dr. Isono who had worked for long time under difficult circumstances to support the Ministry of Public Health. “I wish to have the same support in the future from our friend country Japan.”

Receiving the grant, WHO Representative Dr Richard Peeperkorn spoke on the success and challenges of the partnership for TB control.

“Through the grant assistance, we started our partnership with the people and government of Japan to combat TB in Afghanistan in 2014. Since then we have made tremendous strides in the right direction.”

He said availability of continuous supply of laboratory diagnostics to detect TB and anti-TB medicines to treat TB had made a critical contribution to increase the number of people detected and treated during 2015-2016.

The majority of TB cases were womeninfo-icon, he said. “Despite many challenges, we must continue this good momentum and work together to put an end to TB in Afghanistan.”

JICA Afghanistan Office chief representative Takeshi Watanabe remarked, “infectious disease control has been a priority area of JICA’s assistance in Afghanistan.”

He said JICA’s long-standing commitment to TB control in Afghanistan actually dated as far back as 1970s. “On this occasion with World TB Day just four days away, JICA acknowledges and congratulates the Government of Afghanistan and partners for the firm progress in TB Control.”

He, however, added they must not back off from the battle against TB. “We are hopeful that this grant aid will contribute to further advance of the program to relieve the people of Afghanistan of the burden of TB.”

pr/ma

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