Iraq Commemorates World Tuberculosis Day
In the conjunction with the International World Tuberculosis Day of March 24th, the UNDP National TB Programme organized the 6th National TB conference in Nasiryha, Thiqar from 24-25 of March 2014.
Attended by Senior Officials from the Ministry of Health, Members from the Council of Representatives and governorate councils as well as the Director General of Health in Thiqar, the conference was an opportunity to share knowledge and practices between various governorates as well as to recognize the dedicated efforts Iraq has made in addressing this serious health issue.
Tuberculosis is a disease that affects more than 2 billion people worldwide, with an estimated 9 million new cases each year. Of this, 3 million of the people infected are missed by or don’t have access to health systems, proper diagnosis, treatment, or follow up care, and as a result, 1.3 million people die of TB each year.
The Iraqi health system was badly affected by extended years of conflict and international sanctions. Due to the absence of a national census in Iraq, estimation of national prevalence of TB cases was a significant challenge.
Since 2008, UNDP-Iraq has been managing the TB grant funded by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria with total investment of US$ 37 million. The project supports the National TB Program in coordination with WHO-Iraq and 3 NGOs.
In 2011, the Ministry of Health conducted a national study with a technical support from WHO to estimate the burden of TB on Iraq. The study revealed the estimation that 45 in 100,000 of the population were infected with TB annually, representing 14,800 -15,300 Iraqi people being infected by TB each year.
Through UNDP support, the number of Laboratories providing TB diagnosis has increased from 20 in 2008 to 243 by the end of 2013. In addition, 12 Governorates have been equipped with the latest technologies for TB diagnosis.
While progress is still ongoing, the Ministry of Health and the National TB Control Program reported 8,803 TB cases in 2013, meaning that 57% of total estimated TB cases are being detected and treated, with performance of TB control programmes varying between different governorates.
For further information on the National Tuberculosis Programe in Iraq, please visit: http://www.ntpiraq.zaghost.com/
Dr. Mohammed Siddig A. Mudawi, Project manager GFATM