Afghanistan | News | Government of Japan commits US$ 8.6 million to the fight against tuberculosis in Afghanistan

Government of Japan commits US$ 8.6 million to the fight against tuberculosis in Afghanistan

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H.E. Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan, and Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Country Representative, sign a 3-year cooperation agreement to fight TB. Photo: Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan
Mr. Takeshi Watanabe,  Chief Representative of JICA Afghanistan, and Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Country Representative, sign a 3-year cooperation agreement to fight TB. Photo: Ministry of Public Health Afghanistan
Kabul 23 March 2017 – The Government of Japan pledged US$ 8.6 million to support the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) patients and prevent the spread of the disease in Afghanistan. Announced ahead of World Tuberculosis Day, marked every year on 24 March, the pledge adds to the over US$ 75 million of funding provided by Japan since 2010 to support the fight against TB in the country. His Excellency Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan, and Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHORepresentative in Afghanistan, signed the 3-year agreement in the presence of His Excellency Dr Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health. The project will be implemented in coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).  

The funds will support continuous efforts by the Government of Afghanistan through WHO and partners to provide critical medicines to treat drug-susceptible as well as drug-resistant tuberculosis. The anti-TB medicines will be available for free at all health facilities and through the Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS) programme across the country. A major part of the grant will fund the procurement of first and second-line anti-TB medicines during 2018-2020. Funds will also be used to distribute anti-TB medicines to provincial levels to avoid drug stock-outs, and to procure molecular diagnostics to support TB diagnosis among people living in hard-to-reach areas, especially women and children. 

“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. Moreover, it is my honor to introduce that through this project, Japan’s brand-new multi-drug resistant TB medicine will be introduced in Afghanistan. I hope our assistance and our technology will save more and more Afghan people from TB,” said H.E. Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka.

Expressing gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, Minister of Public Health Dr. Feroz said, “It has been more than four decades that the government of Japan has supported the Ministry of Public Health especially in the health sector, and more specifically in TB control. I would like to thank all the Japanese experts who have contributed to the National TB Control Programme.”

 “We have witnessed major progress in the fight against tuberculosis since we started our partnership with the Government of Japan in Afghanistan in 2014. The availability of continuous supply of laboratory diagnostics to detect TB as well as medicines to treat the disease has increased the number of people detected and treated during 2016 by 17%, two thirds of them being women. Our treatment success rate is currently at nearly 90%,” said Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Country Representative. “We must build on this momentum and continue to work together to put an end to this debilitating disease in Afghanistan.”

At the ceremony, Chief Representative of JICA Afghanistan Office, Mr. Takeshi Watanabe, remarked, “Infectious disease control has been a priority area of JICA’s assistance in Afghanistan, and JICA’s longstanding commitment to TB control in this country dates as far back as 1970s. On this occasion with World TB Day just days away, JICA acknowledges and congratulates the Government of Afghanistan and partners for the firm progress in TB control. However, we must not back off from this battle against TB. We are hopeful that this grant will contribute to further advances in the programme to relieve the people of Afghanistan from the burden of TB.”

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Key health-related statistics

Population (m) 29.7
Health expenditure (% of GDP) 9.5
Adult (15+) literacy rate (%) 34.8
Life expectancy at birth F/M (2010) 63.2-63.6

Sources: Central Statistics office, Afghanistan National health Accounts, Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey, Afghanistan mortality survey. 

Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

Afghanistan country health profile

Regional Health Observatory

WHO Afghanistan Programme Overview 

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