For Immediate Release
Tuberculosis remains a significant public health challenge in Azerbaijan, with high prevalence and incidence, and a particularly high rate of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). Azerbaijan is among the 27 high TB burden countries for MDR-TB. In 2010, there were 8,348 notified cases of all forms of TB and a case notification rate of 92.2 per 100,000 population for all forms of TB. In 2011, the estimated number of TB patients in Azerbaijan was 16,000, with 10,100 officially notified by the National TB Program (NTP). In 2009, USAID initiated TB activities as part of its Primary Health Care Strengthening project to help address this serious problem and continued to support these activities under the current project - Azerbaijan Strengthening Health Systems through Integrated Program (AZ SHIP).
USAID-supported TB activities, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) by Abt Associates Inc., have significantly improved TB prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in the country. Achievements include establishing and rolling out a new electronic health information system (e-TB Manager) to support the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Justice in modernizing TB reporting and patient tracking, developing TB clinical practice guidelines, and training doctors. AZ SHIP has also provided technical assistance to the MOH, which enabled the MOH to win a grant from the Global Fund for TB, which is important because the Global Fund is a continuing source of support to purchase medicines and diagnostic equipment for the multi-drug resistant form of TB.
Since the AZ SHIP project will be ending in September 2013, on May 29 USAID in cooperation with the Scientific-Research Institute of Lung Diseases and the Public Union of Pulmonologists and TB Specialists, held a conference dedicated to tuberculosis and lung diseases. The conference brought together more than 100 specialists in lung diseases from all regions of the country. The speakers presented main developments in clinical practice and evidence-based approaches to TB and lung disease treatment and prevention and discussed the challenges in the implementation of the Azerbaijan National TB Strategy. The conference also provided an opportunity for AZ SHIP to report on achievements in TB since 2009 when USAID initiated its TB activities in Azerbaijan, and to discuss the hand-over of AZ SHIP TB activities to the NTP. Participants and speakers at the conference included the Ministry of Health, Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice, the Public Health and Reforms Center, the Global Fund, the Country Coordinating Mechanism, and the Ministry of Health of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
“Thanks to USAID and Abt the conferences that are held every year have become a regular platform for TB specialists to discuss and plan improvements in the delivery of TB services in the country. Because the AZ SHIP Project will be ending this year, it was important to discuss sustainable accomplishments, best practices, and next steps,” said Alexander Pasechnikov, AZ SHIP TB Senior Advisor.
Last updated: December 10, 2013