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Tuberculosis treatment completely free of charge in Iran


Source: Tehran Times

Tuberculosis treatment in Iran is completely free of charge despite the fact that it costs $120 to $60,000 per patient depending on the situation's severity, head of tuberculosis control department of Health Ministry has said.


The average cost of treating a person with TB disease increases with greater resistance, direct costs average $120 to treat drug-susceptible TB and $60,000 to treat drug-resistant TB, IRNA quoted Mahshid Nasehi as saying on Wednesday.

The number of people diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in the country estimated at 8,713, 54 percent of which are male and 46 percent are female, she regretted, adding, about 16.3 percent of the cases suffering the disease are foreign nationals.

"However, foreign nationals infected with TB in the country accounted for 12 percent in the Iranian calendar year 1392 (March 2013-March 2014)," she said.

During the past five decades, the incidence of tuberculosis has dropped from 140 per 100,000 to 11 per 100,000 people in Iran, she highlighted.

According to Nasehi, the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the country is in the age group of 65 years and above.

"Sistan-Baluchestan and Golestan provinces have the highest prevalence of TB, respectively," she noted.

She further concluded that tuberculosis is mostly treatable, provided that one began taking medication on time and taking the course of treatment completely.

Tuberculosis symptoms and causes

Tuberculosis is a communicable disease that is a major cause of ill health, one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent (ranking above HIV/AIDS). It is caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread when people who are sick with TB expel bacteria into the air; for example, by coughing.

It typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites (extrapulmonary TB). About a quarter of the world's population is infected with M. tuberculosis and thus at risk of developing TB disease. With timely diagnosis and treatment with first-line antibiotics for 6 months, most people who develop TB can be cured and onward transmission of infection curtailed.

The number of TB cases occurring each year (and thus the number of TB-related deaths) can also be driven down by reducing the prevalence of health-related risk factors for TB (e.g. smoking, diabetes and HIV infection), providing preventive treatment to people with a latent TB infection, and taking multisectoral action on broader determinants of TB infection and disease (e.g. poverty, housing quality and undernutrition).

TB in the world

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 10.0 million (range, 9.0-11.1 million) people fell ill with TB in 2018, a number that has been relatively stable in recent years. The burden of disease varies enormously among countries, from fewer than five to more than 500 new cases per 100,000 populations per year, with the global average being around 130.

TB affects people of both sexes in all age groups but the highest-burden is in men (aged >15 years), who accounted for 57 percent of all TB cases in 2018. By comparison, women accounted for 32 percent and children (aged <15) for 11 percent.

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