US-Kyrgyzstan partnership against tuberculosis paves way to end epidemic


BISHKEK (TCA) — On April 5, the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced break-through progress in their fight against tuberculosis, an infectious disease that kills 500 people every year in the country, the US Embassy in Bishkek said.

The announcements were made in Bishkek during a conference titled “Achievements of the past five years in tuberculosis control.” Around 250 government officials, health professionals, and representatives of international organizations attended the event.

The five-year review corresponds to the amount of time two USAID-funded projects have been ongoing in the Kyrgyz Republic: the Defeat TB and the Challenge TB projects.

The main results announced at the event include:

– The mortality rate for tuberculosis was reduced by 26 percent, and the incidence rate by 13 percent.
– The reform of national tuberculosis care systems resulted in more than 19 million KGS in savings ($1.7 million USD), an amount reinvested in improved services and new and better medicines for patients.
– The duration of treatment for certain patients was reduced from 24 months to 9.
– Patients with extreme forms of the disease who were facing certain death can now be fully cured.
– Laboratories for tuberculosis detection were modernized and can deliver more accurate results in half the time than before.
– Months-long hospitalizations can now be avoided so patients can be treated near where they live — sometimes even in their own home.

During her opening statement, Nazgul Tashpaeva, head of the Civil Development, Religious and Ethnic Policy Department of the Kyrgyz Republic President’s Office, noted that many partners contributed to this success. “I would like to highlight USAID’s critical technical assistance and thank everyone for their contribution in developing and strengthening the health care system in Kyrgyzstan, especially in such a sensitive are as fighting tuberculosis,” said Nazgul Tashpaeva.

USAID mission director Gary Linden announced the agency’s intention to continue supporting the fight against tuberculosis. “I know that the tuberculosis epidemic is still a serious issue in Kyrgyzstan. We have a lot of work ahead and the U.S. Government is ready to continue to support this fight. I’m confident that together we can defeat tuberculosis!” said Gary Linden.

Every year around 6,000 Kyrgyzstanis get infected with tuberculosis. According to WHO, Kyrgyzstan is among top 30 countries with highest burden of drug-resistant forms of TB.

Sergey Kwan