March 24 is World Tuberculosis Day. To commemorate this date during the entire month of March USAID is supporting events aimed at preventing the spread of tuberculosis (TB) and at informing citizens about this issue. The slogan of the month is “Together we can defeat TB!”
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. On March 19, 2015 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching its new SPRING Project, aimed at improving maternal and child nutrition in the Kyrgyz Republic. The launch brings representatives of the Ministry of Health together with national health organizations, the Ministries of Education and Agriculture, oblasts and local government representatives, non-governmental and international organizations. The event is from 9am – 1pm at the Golden Tulip Hotel, 37 Isanova Street in Bishkek.
SPRING is a five-year project aimed at reducing malnutrition, preventing stunting, and reducing anemia in women and children. SPRING will support the Kyrgyz Republic, helping to implement internationally recommended nutrition practices and policies. The SPRING project will encourage better nutrition-related behavior, enhance diet quality and diversity, and support evidence-based nutrition policy.
The Kyrgyz Republic has one of the highest rates of drug resistant tuberculosis in the world. Nevertheless, like their colleagues in other countries of the former Soviet Union, the Kyrgyz TB specialists are skeptical of the safety and effectiveness of outpatient care. For decades their TB programs mandated lengthy inpatient treatment under the assumption that hospitalization reduces the potential of TB transmission in the general public and guarantees treatment during the most critical phase of therapy.
To provide an evidence base for policy reform and national scale-up of ambulatory treatment in April 2012, the USAID Quality Health Care Project (QHCP) initiated a pilot project introducing outpatient treatment for TB patients in the Issyk-Ata district of Chui Oblast. The project trained local health personnel on modern standards of detection, diagnosis, treatment, patient education and counseling. The project also introduced the latest molecular diagnostics technology (GeneXpertTM) for rapid detection of TB and drug resistance among TB patients.
Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that, if not treated, can be lethal. In many countries of the world, including the Kyrgyz Republic, tuberculosis poses a serious threat to public health. Smear microscopy is the main diagnostic method used to identify TB and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. Regular quality control of this method is important to ensure that TB cases are not being missed or falsely diagnosed in laboratories. The External Quality Assurance (EQA) program is an internationally recognized standard that allows laboratories to regularly evaluate their performance and to improve the accuracy of their results. Prior to the USAID Quality Health Care Project, the improved EQA techniques were not employed widely in the Kyrgyz Republic. Since 2013, USAID Quality Health Care Project has supported the National TB program to achieve countrywide EQA coverage by providing training for the staff of microscopy laboratories.
The Kyrgyz Republic is among 27 countries in the world with a very high burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is a particularly dangerous type of tuberculosis that is often developed due to failure to complete the entire course of regular TB treatment. According to the national tuberculosis control program, MDR-TB is identified in 26% of all new cases of tuberculosis and in 55% of patients who previously received TB treatment. Tuberculosis requires a long and uncomfortable treatment regimen to be cured. The length of treatment and the unpleasant side effects of TB drugs make it a challenge for patients and healthcare workers to ensure successful completion.
Patient education and psychological and social support can improve adherence to difficult treatment regimens. The USAID Quality Health Care Project set up 12 Patient Support Groups (PSGs) for tuberculosis patients in different regions of the country to help them successfully complete treatment.
Last updated: July 31, 2015