24 March marks World Tuberculosis Day.
Every year more than 2 billion people are infected with Tuberculosis or TB as it is commonly called. Progress towards global targets for reductions in TB cases and deaths in recent years has been impressive: TB mortality has fallen over 45% worldwide since 1990, and incidence is declining. New TB tools such as rapid diagnostics are helping transform response to the disease and new life-saving drugs are being introduced.
But the global burden remains huge and significant challenges persist.
In line with this, this year the slogan for World TB Day is “Reach the 3 million”.
World TB Day provides the opportunity for affected persons and the communities in which they live, governments, civil society organizations, health-care providers, and international partners to call for further action to reach the 3 million.
TB is curable, but current efforts to find, treat and cure everyone who gets ill with the disease are not sufficient. Of the 9 million people a year who get sick with TB, as many as one-third of them are "missed" by health systems. Many of these 3 million people live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities or are among marginalized populations such as migrant workers, refugees and internally displaced persons, prisoners, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and drug users.
In line with its mandate of Health and Development, the UNDP in the Islamic Republic of Iran with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education, Center for Disease Control, Prisons Organization and the World Health Organization are all involved in delivering solutions through a project entitled “Tuberculosis Prevention in High Burden Areas”.
The project aims to support the priority gaps in the National Tuberculosis Control Programme by dramatically reducing the burden of TB in the poor and vulnerable populations by 2015 in line with the MDGs and the Stop TB Partnership targets.
Project objectives include enhancing treatment practices, addressing issues related to TB/HIV combination and drug resistant, empowering TB affected people/communities, and enhancing TB control systems and infrastructure.
Historically TB has been a major health problem and a life threatening disease in Iran. The management interventions have included:
- 1983: usage of short course chemotherapy
- 1990: integration of TB control programmes in Primary Health Care (PHC) system
- 1995: implementation of Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS)
In addition, there has been an increase of the allocated budget from the government, active national, provincial and district technical committees and execution of educational and monitoring programs. These have contributed to a decreasing trend in TB notification rates from 143 per 100,000 in 1964 to 14.4 per 100,000 in 2012.