On May 18-19, 2023, the second regional border health workshop titled, “Regional Dialogue on Health Security Through Improving Cross-Border Cooperation and Communication” was organized in Dushanbe.
This event was organized with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International Organization for Migration and in partnership with the World Health Organization and Asian Development Bank to provide technical and financial support for enhancing health and border management In Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to respond to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases in 2021-2023.
“The IOM/CDC project served as catalyst for additional initiatives, when Ministries of Health from Central Asian (CA) countries mobilized financial and technical resources from international donors to compliment support to improve border health,” stated Zeynal HAJIYEV, IOM Chief of Mission for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. Sub-Regional Coordinator for Central Asia.
There has been great progress in Central Asia in promoting border health security. To date, multisectoral teams have been established for border health, and needs assessments at points of entry have been conducted and revealed knowledge and skills gaps related to health emergency response among border health staff. CDC and IOM have since supported the development of standard operation procedures for health emergencies at points and provided equipment to help detect, notify, refer and support cases of suspected communicable diseases.
The event continues the strategic engagement between the participating countries and provided a forum for information sharing on border health initiatives and experiences from other regions, and enhanced cross-border coordination and communication in compliance with International Health Regulations (IHR).
The Deputy and Principal Physician of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan, Dr. Abdukholik Amir AMIRZODA emphasized, “International Health Regulations include the role of cross-border collaboration and provide a legal framework to support it. Cross-border collaboration expands and enhances existing capacities in a ground-crossing setting by harmonizing resources, strengthening coordination and communication, and complementing joint efforts. Effective regional cooperation can have a significant impact on border health capacities”.
The U.S. CDC has partnered with the governments of Central Asia for over 20 years. CDC opened its first country office in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 1995, and has established offices in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan since then to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.