Eliminating TB: A Collaborative Effort
The International Conference of Integrated TB Control in Almaty, Kazakhstan, brought together hundreds of TB experts and health care professionals with the common goal of implementing integrated, patient-centered TB care in the countries of the Central Asian region. The forum was organized by Project HOPE, the Republic of Kazakhstan Government, USAID, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The conference was a collaboration of an unprecedented assemblage, including representatives from Central Asian ministries of health, the Republic of Belarus, People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, South Korea, Ukraine and the U.S., as well as TB experts from WHO, USAID, the Global Fund, the CDC and Rutgers University.
This collaborative approach has already seen success. “Our joint efforts to reduce the burden of TB and MDR-TB have contributed to a 22 percent reduction of TB mortality rates in all five Central Asian countries,” said Linda Heitzman, Project HOPE’s Executive Vice President.
Mark Moody, Principal Officer, U.S. Consulate-General Almaty, said that Kazakhstan has seen great improvement. “More than $20 million has been provided by USAID to fight TB in Kazakhstan with excellent results: in 10 years the number of TB cases has dropped by 50 percent.”
But Tamara Duysenova, the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Minister of Health and Social Development, emphasized that more needs to be done. “Even though the TB epidemic has been halted with our collective efforts, it has not been eliminated yet, and people continue to die from this disease.”
At the conclusion of the conference, participants were tasked with formulating recommendations and identifying priorities for action to advance TB treatment and care across the Central Asian region. HOPE’s Uzbekistan USAID TB Control Program poster won second place among 18 poster presentations submitted.