U.S. supports pioneering tuberculosis treatment initiatives

On September 19 at 9:30 a.m., representatives from the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic will join a round table discussion on the results of a pilot initiative on ambulatory treatment of tuberculosis (TB) coordinated by the USAID-funded Quality Health Care Project (QHCP).  The discussion will highlight significant improvements in TB care brought forth by new diagnostic technology, and a shift away from mandatory hospitalization that will lower costs, reduce transmission rates, and improve patient comfort.  The round table will take part in the Issyk-Ata Family Medicine center (FMC) in Kant city.

The Kyrgyz Republic has some of the highest rates of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in the world.  The country has been following a Soviet-era model of hospital-based TB control, which is costly, not patient-centered, and poses a risk of in-hospital transmission of TB, which is a major driver of MDR TB in the region.  In 2012, the USAID Quality Health Care Project initiated a pilot in the Issyk Ata rayon of Chui Oblast to introduce a new model of TB services at the primary health care level.  The model focused on early detection and treatment of TB using new GeneXpert® technology, improved TB infection control measures, and updated clinical protocols based on international standards.  The model also worked to improve patient adherence to treatment by facilitating patient-centered ambulatory treatment for those not requiring or desiring hospitalization.

The pilot led to a number of significant improvements: increased awareness of TB symptoms among Kyrgyz citizens, improved infection control measures making health facilities safer for patients and staff, doubling of the number of confirmed TB cases detected as compared with microscopy, rapid detection and referral of drug-resistant cases, and improved treatment adherence through patient support groups.  Fifty-four patients received fully ambulatory treatment with a 96% treatment success rate.

Based on the resounding success of the pilot project, the Ministry of Health signed a regulation in July 2014 to scale up this model to all rayons of Chui Oblast.

The Quality Health Care Project is one of the many assistance projects supported by the American people through USAID.