The Kabul Times.
Health National

TB disease cases still high in Afghanistan

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Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) marked the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day in a ceremony last week in Kabul. The ministry said that in 2021 nearly 600,000 people were infected with TB in Afghanistan, showing 10 percent increase comparing to the year 2020.
Head of the TB awareness department of the ministry of public health Noor Agha Zayed said that the number of those infected with TB was 50,710, showing a 10 percent increase comparing to the year back. Currently, there are 852 free TB treatment centers across the country. TB doctors say if the disease is not diagnosed and treated, it gets fatal. Officials of the ministry of public health called on the international organizations to assist Afghanistan in the fight against the TB disease in the country.
“We call on the international community to work with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to fight tuberculosis,” said Bismillah Khan, director of tuberculosis control at the Ministry of Public Health.
He said that with the new plans they would address all challenges in this regard.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Public Health, the rate of tuberculosis treatment in Afghanistan has now increased to 95%, which has led to a reduction in deaths from the disease in the country. Currently, there are hundreds of TB treatment centers countrywide.
In Kandahar, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders works in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health to diagnose and treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). The project in the province aims to ensure patients with TB have access to quality, free and effective treatment. The WHO estimated that 73,000 people were infected with TB in 2020, with nearly 10,000 people Killed by the disease. Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
MSF has recently inaugurated a drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) hospital, which includes a laboratory, outpatient clinic and 24-beds for inpatients suffering from DRTB and comorbidities, and those who develop severe side effects after taking DR-TB medication. MSF also provides mental health support and undertakes health promotion activities. There is an MSF guesthouse
that accommodates patients who come from far away for the duration of their treatment.
MSF also supports six wards treating patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Kunduz, Nangahar and Paktia provinces.
This comes amid of marking the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, which is observed on March 24 each year to raise public awareness and understanding about one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers – TB and it’s devastating health, social and economic impact on people around the world. March 24 marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
Every day, over 4100 people die from TB and nearly 30 000 people fall ill with TB disease – despite it being preventable and treatable. It is worth mentioning that TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance. World Tuberculosis Day is an opportunity to focus on the people affected by this disease and to call for accelerated action to end TB suffering and deaths, especially in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
S. Momand

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The Kabul Times.