Basrah, 24 March 2013 (WHO) - Iraq joined the rest of the world in commemorating World TB Day 2013 under the slogan of “Stop TB in my lifetime” aiming at promoting bold actions and an ambitions approach towards TB control.
“Tuberculosis is still the number one infectious killer of adults in the world “Said Dr. Riyad Al-Hilfi , the Director General of Basrah Health Directorate, Minister of Health in Iraq. “On this occasion, we re-commit ourselves to collect all efforts to put an end to the suffering from tuberculosis in Iraq” added.
Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, stated in this day “We know what to do, we know we can defeat tuberculosis, we know we can save unnecessary suffering caused by tuberculosis in our countries.
Iraq shows its dedication and commitment to prevent and control TB. Between 2003 and 2012, the TB case detection rate gradually and consistently increased to reach 57% which is 8, 664 TB cases in 2012. Eighty-nine per cent (89%) of infectious cases detected were successfully treated. Care for drug-resistant forms of TB was expanded and innovative partnerships were developed between the public and private sectors, as well as with civil society, TB-affected communities, donors and media.
Despite appreciable progress made against TB in Iraq, there is still 43% of the total estimated number of TB cases is missed every year, leaving thousands of untreated TB patient suffering and causing the suffer to others.
The Ministry of Health through the National TB Control programme with the technical and financial support of WHO, UNDP and the Global Fund aiming to detect more tuberculosis cases and provide appropriate treatment for TB patient. “Treating and curing people with TB prevents the spread of the disease, reduces poverty, strengthens health systems, engages all care providers and empowers those affected’ said Dr. Fadhil Ali Abbas, Manager of the National TB Control Program.
Dr Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO representative in Iraq, reconfirmed WHO commitment and continued support to the Ministry of Health and other line ministries and agencies, in the fight against TB in the country which is directly linked to MDGs 6: combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other diseases; and calls leaders, government, donor organizations, UN organizations, civil society, communities to support, fund and implement the National TB Control activities to achieve our hope of reversing TB incidence and halving the 1990 level of TB prevalence and death rates by 2015.
World TB Day provides the opportunity to raise awareness of Syrian refugees in Domiz camp about TB-related problems and solutions
Each year, The Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO and other partners recognizes World TB Day on March 24, with a variety of activities. This two-year campaign gives the opportunity to build upon the messages and resources developed during the last World TB Day.
During this day, Iraq makes an individual call for the elimination of TB. From Basra where the event kicked off in a big TB conference with presence of more 200 decision makers, civil socialites, academic institutions and media till the north of Iraq in Domiz camp where children, health workers celebrated the day and took part in supporting the TB control efforts.