March 24, 2022, Tashkent – Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) jointly with the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan and the World Health Organization commemorated World Tuberculosis Day in Uzbekistan. USAID marked the day with a donation of 16 GeneXpert diagnostic machines to the Ministry of Health (MOH); by organizing a children’s paintings exhibition and campaigns to prevent tuberculosis (TB), stigma and discriminationm and a charity concert in Djizzak, Gulistan and Ferghana cities to raise awareness about TB.
World Tuberculosis Day is observed worldwide on March 24 to raise public awareness of the devastating health and socio-economic consequences of tuberculosis, which globally claims over 4,000 lives every day. The past two years have been especially challenging, with the COVID-19 pandemic hampering the fight to end tuberculosis. While Uzbekistan has made steady progress in decreasing total numbers of tuberculosis cases and deaths over the past decade, the proportion of more difficult-to-treat drug resistant tuberculosis cases remains high.
“Uzbekistan’s healthcare system has achieved notable results in the fight to end tuberculosis, and in educating the public about tuberculosis in recent years. But it still faces a number of challenges, including the spread of drug resistant forms of the disease. By working together, we can continue to make the changes that will save lives and keep families healthy in Uzbekistan, across this region, and around the world. Thank you for your partnership and your commitment to achieving our common goal: ending tuberculosis in Uzbekistan,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Daniel Rosenblum.
“We are pleased that we are not alone in this fight. USAID, other donor organizations, healthcare institutions, and local non-governmental organizations work in partnership with us and share their experience so we can decrease the burden of tuberculosis in our country,” noted Professor Nargiza Parpiyeva, Director of the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Center of Phthisiology and Pulmonology.
Over the past six months, USAID has donated 46 GeneXpert rapid tuberculosis diagnostic systems valued at almost $700,000 to the Government of Uzbekistan, including 16 machines handed over in today’s ceremony. GeneXpert testing is revolutionary, providing same-day test results, so patients can start on treatment as soon as possible. Results from other test machines took up to eighty days. GeneXpert testing checks not only whether a patient has tuberculosis, but also whether a particular tuberculosis case is resistant to antibiotics frequently prescribed to treat tuberculosis, allowing doctors to choose medication that will be effective for the patient.
“USAID has been a proud partner of the Government of Uzbekistan in the fight against tuberculosis. Through our collaborative efforts over the years, we have been able to contribute to the reduction of the burden of tuberculosis and improve the well-being of Uzbekistani families,” stated Mikaela Meredith, USAID’s Mission Director in Uzbekistan.
USAID has a long history of collaboration with the Ministry of Health’s National Tuberculosis Program to train medical specialists, improve the availability of tuberculosis drugs, medical and laboratory equipment, and strengthen prevention, detection and treatment of tuberculosis. For example in 2021, USAID trained over 1,700 professionals on tuberculosis issues and screened over 3000 at-risk individuals for tuberculosis. USAID also works with other local and international partners to support the National Tuberculosis Program in raising public awareness of tuberculosis and reducing stigma and misinformation associated with the disease, through public events and collaboration with mass media and distribution of materials via social media.
For nearly 30 years, USAID has been working in partnership with Uzbekistan to improve the health and wellbeing of people of Uzbekistan and has invested more than $146 million in the health sector of the country. USAID partners with the Government of Uzbekistan to diversify the country’s economy and increase regional trade, address serious health threats – including COVID-19 – and build the government’s capacity to respond to the population’s needs. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/uzbekistan and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDUzbekistan.