11 December 2017

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Health

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Kabul (BNA) The country’s Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has laid the corner stone of the first cancer diagnostic and treatment center at the Kabul Medical Institute on Saturday.
In a ceremony held on the occasion, the CE said the center which was also functioning in Kabul, in the past, work on this has been suspended due to some reasons but restarted today, the statement quoted.
The cancer center has been said to take 27 million USD funded by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to complete at the Kabul Medical Institute Compound, after a long delay, said the statement.
Dr. Abdullah said issue on construction of the center was discussed with the IAEA Chairman, but, the projected delayed due to some reasons, according to the statement.
Inauguration and functioning of the center would help tens of thousands of Afghans diagnose and treat their cancer disease inside the country.
 

Saturday December 2, 2017

Kabul (BNA) World AIDS Day, designated on Dec. 1st every year since 1988, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.
The day is an opportunity to unite the people worldwide fight the fatal disease and support those affected.
What is AIDS: AIDS is a syndrome caused by a virus called HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). The disease alters the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infections and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the syndrome progresses.
HIV infection can cause AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection can progress and, eventually, it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases. Once someone has received an AIDS diagnosis, it will always carry over with them in their medical history.
One of the reasons behind the disease is sexual transmission - it can happen when there is contact with infected sexual fluids (rectal, genital, or oral mucous membranes). This can happen while having unprotected sex.
Prenatal transmission - a mother can pass the infection on to her child during childbirth, pregnancy, and also through breastfeeding.
Blood transmission - the risk of transmitting HIV through blood transfusion is nowadays extremely low in developed countries, thanks to meticulous screening and precautions. However, among injection or IV drug users, sharing and reusing syringes contaminated with HIV-infected blood is extremely hazardous.
Afghan ministry of public health says that the number of those affected by HIV virus is concerning, however; they have held many awareness programs so far to prevent the disease.
The ministry says they have covered 20 percent of those affected by AIDS so far and are making effort to prevent its growth, thus, all government administrations are asked to cooperate with us in the respect.
According to Afghan doctors, there would be around 6700 HIV affected people throughout the country, 2000 of whom have been identified and are under treatment. They ask the ministry of public health to establish HIV centers along the borders and further provide the ground for treatment of those affected.
At the same time, the ministry of public health said it has established fifteen HIV centers in a bid to decrease the disease and it was making effort to increase their numbers.
World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS epidemic has decreased since its peak in 2005 (1 million in 2016, compared to 1.9 million in 2005). 
Lailuma Noori
 

Tuesday November 28, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Japan has announced the new projects to help eradicate polio and prevent the spread of other deceases in Afghanistan, and to improve the livelihood in Tajik-Afghan cross-border areas for improvement of self-reliance and stability of the region, a press release from Japanese embassy in Kabul said yesterday.
The projects approximately worth 8.6 million USD and 9.1 million USD, respectively, will help to procure the vaccines to protect 10.3 million children against polio, reach 1.37 million children with routine immunization and 2.5 million women of child bearing age in Afghanistan, and improve the livelihood of 1.8 million people living in border districts in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
The relevant agreements has signed at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul here yesterday between Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan, Takeshi Watanabe, JICA Chief Representative, Adele Khodr, UNICEF Representative and Jocelyn Mason, UNDP Country Director. The ceremony was attended by Ferozudin Ferozz, Minister of Public Health, Mukhtar Ghafarzoy, Representative of Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development and Sharofiddin Imom, Ambassador of Tajikistan. In the UNICEF’s Project “Infectious Diseases Prevention for Children in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” (USD 8.6m), the contribution from the people of Japan will be used to procure routine vaccines for an annual cohort of some 1.37 million children under the age of one. The vaccines include BCG against tuberculosis, Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for poliomyelitis, Meals vaccine and Hepatitis B. In addition, some 2.5 million women of child-bearing age will benefit from the purchase of Tetanus Toxoid vaccine. These vaccines will be available for free at all health facilities and through the polio campaign.
At the signing ceremony, Ferozudin Feroz, Minister of Public Health of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said, “With continued support from the Government of Japan, we have succeeded in ensuring the provision of health services including the immunization services for the children and mothers of Afghanistan. We assure you that we will maintain our focus on routine immunization as one of the key pillars for stopping the circulation of the polio virus in Afghanistan. We hope that you will continue to keep routine immunization in Afghanistan as one of your top priorities, and I wish to thank you in advance for your future support to the Routine Immunization Program in Afghanistan”.
UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr said, “Thanks to Japanese funding over the past 10 years, 11.6 million children and 9.2 million women of child-bearing age have received vaccinations against five vaccine-preventable diseases in Afghanistan. Since 2006, Japan’s contribution to polio eradication efforts has supported the immunization of up to 9.5 million children during National Immunization Days, held on average 4 times a year. The world is closer than ever to reaching the goal of a polio-free world but much still needs to be done. This is why we greatly appreciate this sustained funding from the Government of Japan, which is critical to keep up the momentum until every child is immunized and the world is polio-free.”
The UNDP’s Project” Livelihood Improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-Border Areas (LITACA) Phase II” (USD 9.1 M) will be built on the past achievements of LITACA Phase I, which was also funded by the Government of Japan. The project aims to improve living standards of the people in six districts in four provinces in Afghanistan (Shahr-e-buzurg District in Badakhshan Province, Cha Ab, Yang-e-Qala and Dasht-e-Qala Districts in Takhar Province, Imam Sahib District of Kunduz Province, and Khulm District of Balkh province) and eight districts in Khatlon Province in Tajikistan. Furthermore, the project intends to promote stability and security of these cross-border areas, by ensuring self-reliance of the local people, reducing poverty, supporting economic development of the regions and encouraging cross-border collaboration among the communities. LITACA II will be implemented in line with the Citizen’s Charter of the Government of Afghanistan. Mukhtar Ghafarzoy, Representative of Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, express gratitude to the people of Japan and said, “This initiative will empower Afghan women, youth, new graduates, and farmers and make a positive difference in the lives of rural communities. Japan’s support in the first phase of the project has helped set up and equip seven new market facilities. 716 local people have learned new business skills and are financially literate. 500 rural people now have a long-term job. These are great, long lasting achievements and today we celebrate LITACA work and renew our commitment to continue working together for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.”
Jocelyn Mason, UNDP Country Director ad interim explained, “The project will offer opportunities to increase the skills of the local government officials, civil society and private sector organizations to plan and manage local socio-economic development. LITACA will also invest in the construction of priority infrastructures to support local business as a means of improving livelihoods of the target population.” In both projects, the implementing agencies, i.e. UNICEF and UNDP, will fulfil its duty in close cooperation with relevant authorities of the Government of Afghanistan, Embassy of Japan in Afghanistan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA Afghanistan Chief Representative, Takeshi Watanabe remarked, “Polio eradication is the goal for both Government of Afghanistan and international communities. We sincerely acknowledge and congratulate on the consolidated effort of the Government of Afghanistan, its partners, and most importantly vaccinators on the front line for the decrease in the number of polio cases. We strongly hope this grant will contribute to stopping transmission of polio virus, which will lead to the eventual eradication of polio from Afghanistan.” Referring to the LITACA-II, He also added, “It is my greatest honor that LITACA Phase II will bring the benefit to the wider geographical areas which covers bordering districts in Kunduz, Takhar, Badakhshan and Balkh provinces of Afghanistan and bordering districts in Khatlon province of Tajikistan. I believe this project will further affect positively the stability of the region.”
Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan, remarked, “To support the stability and self-reliance of Afghanistan, Japan has been placing the value of several sectors such as agriculture, rural development, health, education, infrastructure and so on. Among them, infectious diseases prevention for children, agriculture and rural development are our priorities as we hold today’s ceremony. We will keep close cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan and we try to provide the support which is based on the needs of Afghan people.” Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to $6.4 billion.
 

Tuesday November 28, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Fake and unlicensed medicines are being delivered illegally by individuals and companies to market and the situation is increasing day by day in the country. Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) says there are nearly 15,000 types of medicines in the country’s markets and most of them are unnecessary. Based on new strategy of the respective ministry, efforts are underway for prevention of imports and selling of low-quality and unnecessary medicines in the country.
According to minister of public health Ferozuddin Feroz, trafficking of medicines has reduced comparing to last year. He has said that 90% of medicines have been imported to the country from Pakistan, Iran, India, China, Bangladesh, UAE and South Korea, adding that 30% of the medicines are trafficked by individuals and companies.
Hundred millions of dollars has been spent in various health sections in the country as hundreds of hospitals and clinics have been constructed and renovated in different provinces of the country. Moreover, administrative structures have developed, but there has been little improvement in management and controlling of medicines in the country.
Therefore, medicine-trafficking is considered as a big challenge for MoPH and traders who are legally importing medicines from other countries. A number of institutions are controlling and overseeing medicine imports, but lack of a sound mechanism for coordination and close cooperation between organs as MoI, MoF and MoPH has caused that hundreds thousand tons low-quality and fake medicines were trafficked from neighboring countries to Afghanistan.
Now, there are 1193 companies importing medicines to the country, but the ministry of public health has blacklisted nearly 817 companies importing low-quality imports from neighboring countries. Increasing insecurity in Afghanistan has changed the country into a medicine-consuming country.
Lack of standard and equipped labs in ports as well as lack of professional cadres particularly in provinces is also considered as one of causes for importing low-quality medicines to Afghanistan. It is said that modern medical equipment has been purchased by MoPH in recent years, but due to lack of professional cadres in medical technology sector in the country, the modern equipment has amortized as the equipment was not used properly.
What should to do? To prevent from imports of low-quality medicines, it is necessary to take the following steps:
· Enforcement of sternly laws on individuals and companies operating in connection with imports of low-quality and trafficking of medicines to the country.   
· Preparing and implementation of a mechanism for production, importing, overseeing and controlling of medicines.
· Enhancement of capacity level of professional cadres in medical technology sector particularly in the country’s provinces.
· Creating a particular mechanism for strengthening coordination between relevant organs in importing, producing and processing of medicines in the country and supporting investment in producing section of medicines inside of the country as well as approving of Afghanistan-made medicines by a prestigious and known world pharmaceutical company.
Currently, new strategy of the public health ministry is mostly stressing on covering and quality of health services and we know that responsive health services should be delivered in remote areas of the country. Presently, there are 13,000 medical stores operating across the country, but only 4,000 professional individuals are working in this sector.
Lailuma Noori
 

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