24 October 2009 | Rabat -- Partners in Morocco came together this week to unveil the latest Stop TB national partnership created in this highly committed region, which has an active regional partnership and national partnerships in seven other countries: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.
Ms Yasmina Badou, Health Minister of Morocco and Stop TB Ambassador Anna Cataldi announced the fledgling partnership's launch at the closing of a two-day conference on tuberculosis care attended by some 300 delegates. They also presented its charter, which was endorsed by the delegates and has now been released with a call for broad adoption by national institutions, civil society, professional unions and the media.
Morocco has a strong history of commitment to stopping tuberculosis. In 1991, it was one of the first countries in the world, and the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, to start a DOTS program. By 1995 Morocco had already achieved more than 90% case detection and cure rates. Since 1995 the incidence rate (percentage of people in the country who become ill with tuberculosis) has been declining at a rate of 3% each year.
Nonetheless tuberculosis remains a serious public health problem in Morocco, with an estimated 26-27 000 new cases each year. Most cases occur among people aged 15 to 45 in large cities and other urbanized, heavily populated areas. To reach the 2050 target of elimination of tuberculosis as a public health problem, the country will need an even more ambitious agenda. Establishment of the new national partnership is an important step in that direction.
The Partnership will be run by a secretariat with a forum to be represented by all stakeholders.