On Wednesday, July 16, 2014, First Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Asilbek Khudayarov, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent Philip Kosnett, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Uzbekistan Dr. Asmus Hammerich announced the delivery of four GeneXpert rapid tuberculosis testing machines to the Ministry of Health. The ceremony took place at the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Center of Phthisiology and Pulmonology, and was attended by officials from the Uzbek Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs as well as other health officials.
The new machines that enable rapid tuberculosis diagnosis are worth $271,000 and their purchase was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The equipment is capable of identifying tuberculosis and multidrug resistant tuberculosis in less than two hours, allowing patients to begin their treatment on the same day. Timely diagnosis of TB improves the ability of health facilities to provide the right treatment and stop the spread of the disease. There are currently 17 GeneXpert machines being used in Uzbekistan.
“The fight against tuberculosis is a priority for the U.S. Government,” said the U.S. Embassy’s Kosnett. “We work closely with the Government of Uzbekistan to improve tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, and to decrease the stigma associated with this potentially manageable disease.”
USAID supports the Government of Uzbekistan’s efforts to reduce the burden of tuberculosis, which have resulted in improved tuberculosis control, reduced morbidity and mortality, and a decrease in tuberculosis cases and deaths compared to a decade ago.
Since 1992, USAID has provided more than $356 million in assistance to Uzbekistan.