IRD was founded in Karachi, Pakistan and is a research and health delivery organization that works in over 15 countries. Its goal is to address global health delivery gaps through innovation and research in order to improve the well being of vulnerable communities.
The goal of the partnership between AfD and IRD is to set up a Tuberculosis program for Afghan refugees who are returning to their home country from Pakistan and Iran. According to the WHO, around 61’000 Afghans are infected annually with Tuberculosis and around 12’000 people die each year from the disease. Among those most at risk are refugees and internally displaced persons (WHO, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, 2017). Overcrowded refugee camps, the refugees’ mobility and a lack of treatment facilities have led to an increase in transmission of the disease. When refugees do receive treatment, they often leave the treatment midway, which results in the deterioration of the disease and as a consequence leads to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). This type of tuberculosis is more difficult and more expensive to cure.
The aim of the joint program is to identify Tuberculosis patients among the returning refugees at the border along the migration route, screen these patients and then refer them to the appropriate health facilities for treatment. Referring the patients to an appropriate health facility is of crucial importance to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), since the facility will make sure that the person receives the proper treatment for the appropriate period of time. The idea of the program is also to provide medicine for MDR-TB, since multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has become a serious threat in Afghanistan in the last couple of years.
We are looking forward to working with IRD in close collaboration and to seeing where this journey takes us.