March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day. To commemorate this date during the entire month of March USAID is supporting events aimed at preventing the spread of tuberculosis (TB) and at informing citizens about this issue. The slogan of the month is “Together we can defeat TB!”
On March 24, USAID is organizing a press conference with local and international experts on TB. Earlier the same day Bishkek residents will get a chance to learn about TB by taking a free ride in one of the city’s trolleybuses. The passengers will hear announcements and receive brochures about ways to prevent, detect and treat TB. USAID has also launched a competition for the best media article about TB in the country and printed posters and leaflets about TB for distribution throughout the country. Children who receive treatment at TB hospitals and students from several secondary schools in Bishkek will take part in a drawing competition called “My Kyrgyzstan”. On April 1, USAID will present new equipment to the republic’s TB facilities, and the staff of the Bishkek and Chui region TB facilities will receive honorary certificates from the Ministry of Health. Last week, USAID supported a press-café on TB in Bishkek attended by over 20 media representatives. In addition, USAID organized free X-Ray exams for residents of Bishkek’s low income unregulated settlements (novostroiki).
Next week, a number of USAID supported events will take place in the Issyk-Kul region, including a round table on the “Den Sooluk” government program for countering TB, a seminar on TB prevention for the regional health committees, a flash mob, a marathon, and a school theater competition.
TB is a bacterial infectious disease. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), from 2000 – 2007 proper diagnostics and treatment of TB saved 37 million lives and TB mortality fell by 45%. In 2014, there were 5,763 newly diagnosed TB cases in the Kyrgyz Republic, which is around 100 cases per 100 thousand people. Moreover, the Kyrgyz Republic is one of 27 countries with a high level of drug-resistant TB which is much more difficult and expensive to treat in comparison with its regular form. The Kyrgyz Republic coordinates all anti-TB measures under the National TB program for 2013 – 2016.
USAID has been helping the Kyrgyz Republic to better prevent, diagnose and treat TB for many years. Currently, there are three major USAID projects working in this area: the Quality Health Care Program, Dialogue on HIV and TB, and Defeat TB. These projects introduce new diagnostic equipment to labs, support monitoring and evaluation of the National TB Program, introduce new record keeping and reporting forms recommended by the WHO, develop clinical guidance, and help inform citizens about TB prevention and treatment.
In 2014, the Kyrgyz Republic started expanding the outpatient model of TB treatment. This model was tested by the USAID Quality Health Care Program in the Chui Region. Currently, 15,4% of all TB patients receive treatment in outpatient care, which is three times cheaper than hospital based treatment. Moreover, the new model allows for greater patient comfort and decreases the risk of hospital infections. USAID also creates patient support groups that increase the number of patients who successfully complete the entire treatment course.
In 2014, the USAID Dialogue on TB and HIV project supported TB diagnostics for 5,000 people living with HIV, migrants and drug users. The diagnostics revealed 115 new TB cases. All the people diagnosed with TB were referred to treatment.
At the round table on TB diagnostics and treatment in February, 2015 Alanna Shaikh, Director of the Health and Education Office at the USAID Mission in the Kyrgyz Republic noted that curbing the TB infection rate, in particular the spread of drug resistant TB, is a priority for USAID. She also expressed hope that the new USAID Defeat TB project that supports the Ministry of Health will contribute to improved access to TB diagnostics and treatment for the country’s citizens.
To learn more about USAID programs to counter TB visit: http://www.usaid.gov/ru/kyrgyz-republic/global-health