On September 1, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC/CAR) has delivered $316,000 worth of equipment and supplies to two laboratories in Almaty. The Central Reference Laboratory and the Scientific and Practical Center for Sanitary and Epidemiological Expertise and Monitoring will use the received items to obtain high quality samples and increase testing using highly specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for COVID-19.
The donated items include a high- throughput real-time PCR System, PCR test kits, and RNA extraction kits, all of which are used for COVID-19 diagnosis. In October, CDC will transfer a second batch of equipment and supplies, including laboratory plastics, test kits, and reagents worth more than $480,000 to the same two laboratories and additionally to the branches of the National Center for Expertise.
“We continue to be committed to supporting our Kazakhstani colleagues in their fight against this pandemic. This latest shipment represents a fraction of resources and expertise the United States has invested in public healthcare in Kazakhstan. Our cooperation in this area started long before the current pandemic and we are certain that it will continue long after it is over,” said CDC Central Asia Director Dr. Daniel Singer.
CDC Central Asia has been supporting Kazakhstan’s Ministries of Health since the beginning of the outbreak by organizing trainings and providing technical assistance on emergency operations, laboratory operations, infection prevention and control, screening at ports of entry, risk communication and community engagement, and disease surveillance. CDC has also been translating technical guidance documents published by leading international public health organizations into Russian for distribution among public health specialists in Kazakhstan.
CDC has a long history of collaboration with governments in Central Asia on public health issues. It opened its first office in Almaty in 1995 and today has offices in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. CDC works with each Ministry of Health to strengthen local laboratory, disease surveillance, and workforce capacity so that the countries can better prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.