Canada pledges further support for TB care in Afghanistan

6 April 2011 - Kabul - The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has announced a grant of CAD$ 1.79 million to support Afghanistan's fight against tuberculosis (TB).

The grant follows the 2010 Berlin Declaration to stop TB and improve women's health in Afghanistan, and adds to the CAD$ 6 million that CIDA has already provided to the country's efforts against TB.

The funding will support research into why more women than men become ill with TB in Afghanistan. It also aims to help cured patients promote better TB care, strengthen civil society's role in mobilizing communities and support the work of women's committees in remote areas of the country.

The grant is a sign of confidence in the Stop TB Partnership Afghanistan, which leads the government's TB care and control activities and represents public and private sector healthcare providers, bilateral and multilateral organizations, the media, academia and civil society groups.

TB is a major public health and development challenge in Afghanistan. The country is one of 22 TB high-burden countries in the world. The World Health Organization estimates that every year in Afghanistan, more than 42 000 new cases of TB occur and more than 8000 people die because of this curable disease. Women, already a vulnerable group in Afghanistan, account for 68% of cases.

Afghanistan has been successfully expanding TB care in the past decade, despite economic, social and security challenges. Since the introduction of Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS), 180 373 TB patients have been provided with care.