“Unite to End Tuberculosis” A National Campaign Dedicated to World TB Day

group shotTogether with the Government of Tajikistan, the United States government launched a national information and education campaign dedicated to World TB Day at Kokhi Jomi Hall in Dushanbe. An audience of approximately 400 people witnessed speeches and music delivering messages about TB prevention, stigma, and discrimination. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection, with support of USAID TB Control Program, awarded certificates of appreciation and prizes to the winners of its ”Best health providers in TB” competition.

United States Ambassador Elisabeth Millard and Tajikistan’s Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection Navruz Jafarov noted the great progress made toward controlling TB in Tajikistan with decreased TB morbidity and mortality in the past three years. They also acknowledged the fight is not over. Tajikistan is one of the countries with the highest rates of multi-drug resistant TB in the world, which poses a formidable challenge for TB control

The USAID TB Control Program and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection are supporting various TB activities throughout Tajikistan within the World TB Day campaign. These activities include a campaign for TB patients in Machiton TB Hospital; TB Testing Day for women residing in remote communities and villages; information sessions on TB for prisoners, including female inmates; information and educational sessions on TB prevention and treatment for the American Corner’s visitors in Dushanbe, Sughd and Khatlon Province; and in collaboration with the Tajik National University, campaigns for university students in Dushanbe. A mobile troupe of well-known Tajik actors will perform short plays about TB prevention, stigma, and discrimination at remote project sites throughout the country.

World TB Day falls on March 24 each year and builds public awareness that tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world today, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a-half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. The international Stop TB Partnership announced the theme for World TB Day 2016: Unite to End TB, which calls for a global effort to find, treat and cure all people with TB and accelerate progress towards the bold goal of ending TB by 2035.

The USAID TB Control Program aims to reduce the burden of TB and the development of multi-drug resistant TB in Tajikistan. The program focuses on enhancing national policy development; improving access to diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable groups; supporting a patient-centered system of care; and strengthening laboratories and other parts of the health system in Sughd, Khatlon, and the Rasht Valley. The program, with an anticipated budget of $13.2 million over five years, is another example of U.S. government assistance to improve the health of Tajik citizens. USAID grant assistance to Tajikistan now averages $30 million each year of which approximately 30 percent is directed to healthcare.