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Celebrating World TB Day 2013 in Afghanistan

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Speakers on a stage at World TB Day 2013 event in AfghanistanWorld TB Day 2013 being celebrated in Afghanistan under the slogan Stop TB in My LifetimeKabul, 24 March 2013 – World TB Day was commemorated today across Afghanistan. Afghanistan is among the 22 high TB burden countries of the world. In 2012 alone, there were 29 400 cases detected and 13 000 lives lost due to TB. This year, World TB Day was celebrated under the slogan “Stop TB in My Lifetime”.

At a World TB Day event in Kabul, Dr Ahmad Jan Naeem, Deputy Minister of Public Health on Policy and Planning, said that the multidrug-resistant form of TB could become a major challenge and that treatment of such cases would be expensive. He stressed the importance of vaccinating children and developing a comprehensive package of services for women affected by TB based on nationwide research.

Dr Ahmed F. Shadoul, WHO Representative for Afghanistan, said, “We know that with the right interventions, we can make a major difference. We know how to end all forms of TB, including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) – an emerging issue in Afghanistan – before it leads to severe manifestations that are costly to treat and can cause additional suffering.”

Ms Marghalary Khara, on behalf of the Stop TB Partnership in Afghanistan, stressed the need to address the link between TB and poverty and its consequences. She said that although TB is curable, it is one of the top three causes of death among women aged 15–44 worldwide.

Dr Ali Hasan, Health Programme Manager, BRAC Afghanistan, also acknowledged the contribution of the Global Fund to reduce the TB burden in Afghanistan. He expressed his appreciation of the support of all partners and stakeholders working to stop TB. He requested everybody to work together to halt MDR TB, the high TB prevalence among females and childhood 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. 

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