ASTANA — USAID’s TB CARE I and Quality Health Care Projects are celebrating the completion of five years of successful collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan. A press conference will be held in Astana on Tuesday, November 25, to mark the closeout of the two projects.
USAID, through the coordinated efforts of the two projects, has helped to improve the quality of TB services delivered by health care providers at all levels by integrating TB services in primary health care, strengthening laboratory networks, and bringing the operations of Kazakhstan’s medical laboratories in line with international standards, including the use of the rapid diagnostic test, GeneXpert.
All 77 TB laboratories in pilot oblasts in Almaty and East Kazakhstan are now covered by the WHO-recommended External Quality Assurance system, and 93% of them meet or exceed international standards. GeneXpert testing machines, provided by USAID, have reduced the time it takes to diagnose TB and get a patient into treatment from 76 to 8 days. Since 2012, 5,611 GeneXpert tests have been performed in USAID pilot regions, with 4,874 TB cases detected, of which 2,267 – 47% – were MDR-TB cases.
USAID has supported advocacy, communication, and social mobilization activities to reduce stigma and discrimination, improve treatment outcomes, improve TB drug management, strengthen TB surveillance, and support research. USAID trainings have reached over 6,000 health workers on TB prevention and treatment, and almost 700 laboratory staff have received training on TB diagnosis and quality control.
These USAID programs have helped to expand the usage of outpatient care for TB patients, in line with WHO guidelines. The percentage of patients enrolled in outpatient care has tripled since 2011. The programs were instrumental in the development of a new TB textbook, now in use in Kazakhstan’s medical universities, to help institutionalize new national TB approaches. In addition, the projects supported the development of Kazakhstan’s Comprehensive Plan on TB/MDR/XDR TB Control 2014-2020, which was adopted on May 31, 2014.
Since 1992, USAID has supported local efforts to improve economic growth, governance, and the quality of health and education throughout Central Asia and invested more than $500 million. For more information about our programs, and our work in Kazakhstan and elsewhere in Central Asia, visit our website at http://www.usaid.gov/. The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years.