Tashkent, Uzbekistan – On May 18, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) opened a two-day seminar on the engagement of civil society in the tuberculosis (TB) response in accordance with ENGAGE TB, an approach developed and endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The seminar was conducted with the participation of leading international experts, the USAID TB Control Program, and the Uzbekistan the Uzbekistan National Specialized Medical Science Center for Tuberculosis and Pulmonology (Center for Tuberculosis and Pulmonology). USAID partnered with the Republic of Uzbekistan Ministry of Health and the Center for Tuberculosis and Pulmonology for this successful seminar.
Globally, an estimated one-third of TB cases are either not diagnosed or not reported. Even when people with TB are identified, the disease is often diagnosed and treated late, leading to poorer health outcomes and increased costs for public health systems. The ENGAGE TB approach, implemented by WHO since 2015, encourages National TB Programs (NTP) and civil society organizations that are active in their communities to work more closely together to ensure better coverage of all population groups in TB prevention, detection, and care. It provides specific steps for integrating the activities of the NTP and non-governmental and other civil society organizations for TB control at the community level
During the seminar, national and international experts provided practical recommendations for implementing ENGAGE TB, including approaches for engaging communities in the TB response. Participants concluded the seminar with an agreement to establish a working group and action plan for developing a national guide on community TB engagement using the innovative ENGAGE-TB approach.
USAID supports the Republic of Uzbekistan Ministry of Health in implementing the National TB Program by providing more effective and accessible TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for all, including vulnerable populations. The main objective of the five-year, $7.6 million USAID TB Control Program is to reduce the burden of tuberculosis and prevent multidrug-resistant forms of the disease. The program covers a wide range of technical areas, including strengthening the health system’s human and institutional capacity, improving interagency coordination and cooperation, and increasing access to TB diagnosis and treatment.