United States Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen recently toured Kashkadarya Regional Tuberculosis Dispensary in Karshi, marking World Tuberculosis (TB) Day. This March 24 global health day calls attention to the impact TB has on public health and promotes TB prevention, healthy lifestyles and a reduction of the stigma and discrimination associated with this disease.
On World TB Day, the U.S. Government joins the Republic of Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health to reaffirm its commitment to eradicate TB through successful implementation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) End TB Strategy. According to WHO, nearly 10 million people worldwide have fallen ill with TB—one of the most common infections in the world. Even though TB is preventable and curable, nearly two million people still die every year from this disease. A lack of awareness among the public on available prevention and treatment methods is one of the major causes of TB prevalence.
Kashkadarya Regional TB Dispensary Head Physician Tulkun Ashurov hosted the World TB Day visit in Uzbekistan. This TB Dispensary serves a population of 3 million and has received technical assistance from the American people under the USAID TB Control Program. Since 2015 the program has been implementing critical interventions to stop the spread of TB in four regions of Uzbekistan.
In the course of the visit, Ambassador Spratlen met with the dispensary’s doctors, nurses and staff of a TB Patients’ School and Patient Support Group organized by USAID to foster critical patient-centered support and provide encouragement to patients to complete TB treatment. She also met with community leaders who are trained by USAID to provide support to patients and families affected by TB.
During the tour, the ambassador met former patients who successfully had completed TB treatment as a result of the USAID TB control initiatives and the National TB Program. In addition, she met with journalists trained by USAID who described improvements in media engagement for promotion of TB awareness, coverage of TB-related topics, and reduction of stigma and discrimination of those with TB.
Ambassador Spratlen was also able to observe community health fair festivities organized on the hospital grounds marking World TB Day and featuring entertainment, TB trivia games and other activities focused on promoting TB awareness among the public.
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