The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Republic of Tajikistan Ministry of Health and Social Protection hosted the third International Conference on Integrated Tuberculosis (TB) Control in Central Asia in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The conference was organized in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Project HOPE, the Open Society Institute, the International Organization for Migration, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. Patient-focused TB care is one of the pillars of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) End TB Strategy, which aims to reduce TB deaths by 95% and reduce TB cases by 90% by 2035.
With approximately 1.5 million deaths each year from this infectious but curable disease, TB remains a serious public health challenge. In Central Asia, governments are committed to implementing integrated patient-centered TB care and have made great strides in TB control. Notwithstanding these efforts, the burden of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) impedes progress in the region. Implementing patient-centered prevention and care based on international standards, coordinating stakeholders, and combining efforts of international and civil society organizations will further reduce the TB burden in Central Asia.
The conference brought together leading experts from the United States, Central Asia and Europe, policy makers and international and national civil society organizations to share expertise, successes and lessons learned in integrated patient-centered approaches in TB care. Participants attended plenary sessions, classes and meetings for working groups on priority TB control topics, including rapid TB diagnostics, new TB drugs and shorter treatment regimens, pediatric TB, infection control, and TB laboratory diagnostics. The USAID TB Control Program also highlighted programs that are bringing care closer to people and communities across Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
USAID supports the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan in implementing their national TB programs by providing more effective and accessible prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for all, including vulnerable populations. The main objective of the five-year USAID TB Control Program is to reduce the burden of TB and prevent multidrug-resistant forms of the disease in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The USAID TB Control Program covers a wide range of technical areas, including strengthening the health systems’ human and institutional capacity, improving interagency coordination and cooperation and increasing access to diagnosis and treatment.