World Tuberculosis Day marked in Iraq

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from TB. Three million are missed by health systems and they do not have access to proper diagnosis, treatment, follow up and the care that they deserve and need.

 

About one-third of the world's population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with disease and cannot transmit the disease.

In the absence of a national census in Iraq, estimation of TB cases in Iraq remains to be a challenge. In 2011, the Ministry of Health conducted a national study with technical support from WHO to estimate the burden of TB on Iraq. The study revealed an estimation of 45 new TB cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which means around 14,800 -15,300 Iraqi people are infected by TB each year. The Ministry of Health –National TB Control Programme reported 8,803 TB cases by the end of 2013 which means that only 57% of total estimated TB cases were being detected and treated. The performance of the TB Control Programme varies between different governorates of Iraq. By the end of 2013, Babil, Baghdad, Diyala, Diwaniyah and Thi–Qar governorates has detected more than 60% of the infectious TB cases.

The Iraqi health system got badly affected due to the long years of war and sanctions. Since 2008, UNDP-Iraq has been managing the TB grant funded by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria with a total investment of US$ 37 million. UNDP implements the project to support the National TB Control Programme in coordination with WHO-Iraq and three NGOs. By the end of 2013 the number of laboratories providing TB diagnosis has increased to 243, compared to only 20 laboratories in 2008. Twelve governorates are equipped with the latest technologies for TB diagnosis. 

In connection with World Tuberculosis Day, the National TB Control Programme organized the 6th National TB conference in Nasiryha, Thi-Qar on 24-25 of March 2014. The conference was attended by senior government officials from the Ministry of Health, by Thi-Qar Deputy Governor, Director-General of Health in Thi-Qar, some members from the Council of Representatives, as well as by Governorates’ Council and TB programme managers from various Governorates. The conference was covered by local and national media and served as an opportunity to share knowledge and practices between the various Governorates of Iraq.

 

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNDP

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