Number of Afghan patients treated
for TB doubled since 2001: UN WHO
Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
March 29, 2007
The number of patients being treated for
tuberculosis in Afghanistan has more than doubled
since 2001, the United Nations World Health
Organization (WHO) announced today, saying this could
be the result of a dramatic improvement in the
detection of cases.
In 2006,WHO figures show that 25,443 people, of
whom 16,538 were women, were being treated for
tuberculosis. In 2001, the number of cases detected
and treated was slightly over 9,500.
The growing availability of treatment is coupled
with a decline in the spread of TB, with WHO saying
that the number of new cases every year has been
nearly halved over the last two decades.
The agency also estimate that there were over
40,000 new cases of the disease last year, and 65 per
cent of those newly infected were women between 15 and
45 years old, a highly vulnerable group.
These figures come on the heels of World TB Day
which was commemorated on 24 March.
"Whilst we have seen tuberculosis cases
dramatically cut over the past few years, the Afghan
Government need to continue to engage donors, partners
and civil society organizations to fund and fully
support tuberculosis control activities," said Dr.
Riyad Ahmed Musa, WHO's representative for
The agency called on the Government and
international donors to fund the national plan to
prevent the disease's spread and increase detection
"We have achieved a lot, but we must not become
complacent and we must ensure that we have the
financial support to prevent the progress we have made
being reversed," he added.
WHO considers the Directly Observed Treatment Short
(DOTS) courses - a treatment plan which identifies
tuberculosis cases and then treats them by closely
monitoring patients' medication intake for six to
eight months - the best strategy to combat the
disease. DOTS has now been fully integrated into
Afghanistan's primary health care system and covers
the entire country.