USAID Builds COVID-19 Genomic Sequencing Capability in Tajikistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, March 1, 2022 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will refurbish Tajikistan’s only COVID-19 specific genomic sequencing machine to test for COVID-19 variants. The genomic sequencing machine will be rendered operable with USAID’s donation of equipment, supplies, and new training at the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population.

Following the delivery, USAID’s Local Health System Sustainability Activity began the training on genomic sequencing of the COVID-19 virus variants for laboratory specialists. World Health Organization certified experts will deliver training for six laboratory specialists from the Tajik State Research Institute of Preventive Medicine, who will learn to analyze, record, and report results. They will also learn how to maintain the sequencer and other equipment. After the training, for the first time in Tajikistan, the national laboratory system will be capable of identifying and reporting COVID-19 variants, such as Delta and Omicron. Accurate and timely identification of COVID-19 variants in circulation is critical to an effective COVID-19 response that includes vaccines and other measures employed by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population.

“I am very proud of our collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population that brings fundamental, innovative change to Tajikistan’s health system and supports better COVID-19 testing, and a more effective COVID-19 response,” noted James Parys, USAID Acting Mission Director for Tajikistan.

Funding for the genomic sequencing machine operability and training for the national laboratory system staff is part of $12 million in COVID-19 assistance USAID has delivered to Tajikistan since the pandemic first emerged in March 2020. U.S. support for Tajikistan’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic strengthens the healthcare system; procures urgent supplies for infection-prevention and control, including programs to expand COVID-19 testing; keeps health workers safe with protective equipment; increases oxygen supply; better equips Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratories; improves disease surveillance and clinical management; and fights misinformation. In addition, in support of the national COVID-19 response, the U.S. government has donated more than 2.6 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

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