BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek is hosting the Second International Conference on Integrated Tuberculosis (TB) Control in Central Asia on September 7 and 8. The event has brought together various stakeholders and medical professionals working in the tuberculosis sector to discuss progress and strategies to achieve the objectives set forth in the World Health Organization’s End Tuberculosis Strategy 2015-2035. This strategy aims to reduce deaths caused by the disease by 95%, and to reduce new cases by 90%, the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan reports.
The conference is organized by the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The conference has gathered approximately 250 government officials and health professionals from China, Germany, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the United States of America. Topics discussed include the challenges, innovations, and successes in TB control, and developing strategies for increased partnership and impact among these countries. Other topics to be addressed include improved detection and treatment methods, fighting social stigma, support to vulnerable patients, and the high rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis. In spite of improvements in key TB indicators, such as morbidity and mortality rates, it is much more challenging to treat drug-resistant TB. The rates of drug-resistant TB continue to remain high in Central Asia. In Kyrgyzstan, around a quarter of all new cases are diagnosed as drug-resistant.
The United States partners with governments and various stakeholders throughout the region to fight this deadly infectious disease. In the Kyrgyz Republic, joint efforts between USAID and the Kyrgyz Government have limited the spread of the disease through modernization of labs, adopting new treatment models, social support for patients, and reforming the health system for improved TB services.
The first International Conference on Integrated TB Control was held in 2016 in Almaty. This year, the Kyrgyz Republic was selected to host the conference in order to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the National TB Center.