Despite Morocco's efforts to reduce tuberculosis, thousands of Moroccans—especially the socially vulnerable—die from tuberculosis each year. What is Morocco’s plan to eliminate the disease?
Rabat – Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most prevalent airborne diseases in Morocco, affecting more than 30,000 people every year, according to Moroccan Minister of Health Anas Doukkali.
Following World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, Doukkali announced on Monday—during a national meeting to prepare an action plan to end tuberculosis in Morocco by 2030—that the annual TB case rate is 87 cases per 100,000 people.
Tuberculosis is most likely to affect people aged 15 to 45. Pulmonary tuberculosis, a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs, makes up half of the TB cases in Morocco.
Doukkali said that 70 percent of tuberculosis patients are from marginal neighborhoods near major cities like Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Sale, Kenitra, Marrakech, Safi, Fez, Meknes, the northern regions of Tetouan and Al Hoceima, and the southern Souss-Massa region.
According to the latest tuberculosis statistics, 86 percent of annual tuberculosis cases are found in those cities and regions which are home to 78 percent of the Moroccan population.
MAD 76 million for TB treatment
Doukkali noted that Morocco’s national program has achieved positive results in diagnosing and successful treating tuberculosis. The rate of detection of the infectious disease, which enables early treatment, rose from 75 to 85 percent in Morocco since 1995, said Doukkali.
In 2016, a total of 31,542 cases of tuberculosis were recorded in Morocco, according to the ministry.
To limit the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health is allocating an annual sum that has more than doubled from MAD 30 million (over $3 million) in 2012 to MAD 76 million (over $7.8 million) in 2018.
Doukkali rued that the global annual rate of tuberculosis infections did not decrease “despite the efforts of all world health organizations.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis, and 1.6 million people died from the disease worldwide in 2017. Tuberculosis is among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” bacteria that commonly affects the lungs. It is a contagious infection that spreads through the air from an infected patient’s coughs, sneezes, or spit.
“TB is a treatable and curable disease. Active, drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 6 month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs … Between 2000 and 2017, an estimated 54 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment,” says the WHO.