BAKU, 24 March 2019 – To mark World Tuberculosis Day (WTB), WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan and Health Commission of Azerbaijan’s Parliament organised a roundtable discussion on tuberculosis (TB) bringing together representatives of different ministries, civil society and international organisations. The discussion resulted in an agreement to update the current legislation on TB according to new WHO recommendations and standards.
WTB is a worldwide call to action and a means to mobilize political and social commitment. This campaign aims to raise awareness among the public and policymakers regarding TB as it still remains an epidemic disease in most parts of the world, and a public health problem in developed countries.
“TB is preventable and curable; the time to take action is now to end TB by 2030. If we don’t act rapidly and decisively, the drug-resistant forms of the disease will increase their hold on Europe,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
“Despite the challenges and threats that we face, I believe that Europe has the full potential to lead the way. We have science and technology, skilled health professionals and high-level political commitment to leaving no-one behind – we have got what it takes to end TB,” she concluded.
Tuberculosis is a major public health challenge in the WHO European Region, including Azerbaijan. In 2017, 275 000 people fell ill with TB in the region. In Azerbaijan, in 2017, 3871 people were diagnosed with TB, of whom 2949 were new pulmonary tuberculosis cases. Multi-drug Resistance TB (MDR-TB) treatment success rate is 59% in the country, 57.2 % in the European Region, and 54% globally in 2017. MDR-TB is one of the key drivers of the TB epidemic in Europe.
The recent United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB, held in September 2018, brought hope to the world as global leaders stepped up their commitment to end TB by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WHO supports Azerbaijan in taking important steps in addressing TB. Since 2014, the Medical Department of Azerbaijan’s Justice Ministry has been a WHO Collaborating Centre on TB Control in prisons. This is the only centre of its kind in the world. The centre has been at the forefront of TB control with modern infection prevention and control measures, and the introduction of rapid diagnostic services. WHO Collaborating Centres are credible institutions, designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the organisation’s programmes.
About World Health Organization (WHO)
The World Health Organization is the United Nations specialized agency for health. It was established on 7 April 1948. WHO’s objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.
For more information please, contact Ms. Fanara Bunyadzada, Communications Officer, WHO Country Office in Azerbaijan. Phone: (012) 498 9888 ext. 160; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org