Work starts on $30 million TB hospital in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has started work on a $30 million hospital to treat tuberculosis, a bacterial disease that infects 53,000 Afghans annually.

The government of Japan is paying for the 80 bed hospital in Kabul, which will also serve as a treatment facility for AIDS and malaria patients. Japan is Afghanistan's second largest donor after the United States. More than 10,000 Afghans die from TB each year, VOA reports.

According to Afghanistan's Public Health Ministry, more people in the country die each year from the disease than violence related to war. During the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Suraya Dalil, the Afghan health minister, said that the country is in the top 20 in the world for the most TB-related patients.

In the past few years, the country has started multiple programs to fight back against the preventable disease. There are 2,000 centers throughout the country for the treatment and diagnosis of TB, according to VOA.

Tuberculosis is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium and typically affects the lungs. The disease spreads through the air from one person to another and symptoms include fever, weakness, chest pain and severe coughing. While the disease can be treated by antibiotics, TB can be deadly if it is not treated properly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.