12 January 2009 -- Kabul, Afghanistan -- Dr Hussein A. Gezairy, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, commended the launch of the Afghanistan Stop TB Partnership at a press conference here today. Creation of the partnership - which was launched in November 2008 - indicates commitment from government, civil society, corporate sector and TB-affected communities, to join collective efforts in brining about a sustainable solution to the country's TB burden, he said
Also present at the press conference was Professor Obaidullah Obaid, the Chair of the Coordinating Board of the Afghanistan Stop TB Partnership; Dr S.M. Amin Fatimie, Afghan Minister of Public Health; Dr Najeebullah Mujadadi, Advisor to Afghan President for Health and Education; Rohullah Nikpa, Stop TB Ambassador; and Mr Peter Graaff, WHO Representative in Afghanistan.
Dr Gezairy, who was visiting Afghanistan to participate in an official ceremony introducing the Hib vaccine and to launch a country-wide polio vaccination campaign, also met with Afghanistan President H.E. Hamid Karzai. Dr Gezairy briefed President Karzai on the various health programmes being run by WHO and also reaffirmed WHO's commitment to improving the country's health system and responding to the health needs of the Afghan people.
The mission of the Afghanistan Stop TB Partnership (ASTP) is to: ensure that every TB patient in Afghanistan has access to effective diagnosis, treatment, and cure; stop transmission of TB in the country; and reduce the inequitable social and economic toll of TB. The ASTP promotes the wider implementation of the national Stop TB strategy with emphasis on advocacy, communication and social mobilization.