11 Jul 2016
Håkan Björkman, manager of UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund
Health workers in Syria. Credits @UNDP.
Tuberculosis thrives on war and suffering. People with compromised immune systems due to malnutrition or stress, without access to adequate medical services, and living in poor and crowded housing conditions are more vulnerable to contagion and to developing the disease. The great majority of Syrian people, including the internally displaced people and the refugees in neighboring countries, live in conditions that are ripe for the spread of TB. Inside Syria, two-thirds of public hospitals have been destroyed or severely damaged. Areas such as Aleppo and Homs are particularly difficult to access for medical treatment and care. Even governorates that are considered safe still have pockets of insecurity, making the work difficult everywhere. Yet, some progress has been made controlling the spread of TB in Syria and treating those who have the condition. According to WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, some 3,479 people were placed on treatment in 2015, compared with 1,335 in 2013, a 150 percent increase. Diagnostic services have also been maintained, with 55 laboratories in 9 of the 14 governorates rehabilitated and technicians trained to use them. Monitoring TB in Syria UNDP has been working on tackling TB in Syria since 2007 with financial support from the Global Fund.