United Nations Development Programme in Kazakhstan joined the republican seminar “It is time for you to contribute to the fight against tuberculosis” held in Almaty with the participation of representatives of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the National Center for Public Health, the National Scientific Center of Phthisiopulmonology, Public Health Department of Almaty and the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases.

The event was also attended by specialists from the public health departments and regional health departments responsible for prevention and treatment of tuberculosis, as well as by representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

 Zhumabek Bekenov, Director of the Department for Prevention of Infectious Diseases of the National Center for Public Health, mentioned that “every year, on March 24, the world marks World Tuberculosis Day. One of the essential challenges of this day is to call to all the people of the world that this problem may affect any of us. It is crucial to start with yourself - undergo an X-ray examination annually, take preventive measures in relation to yourself, your children and loved ones. When experiencing the first signs of the disease, it is critical to immediately approach doctors to prevent further spread of the infection.”

Malik Adenov, Director of the National Scientific Center of Phthisiopulmonology, emphasized that “the epidemiological situation in Kazakhstan has been improving from year to year. Over the last decade, the TB incidence rate in Kazakhstan has decreased by 2.2, the mortality rate – by 5.4 times.”

He noted that modern diagnostic methods in compliance with international standards are applied for early TB detection in the country contributing to the timely and correct TB diagnosis, including drug-resistant types. Innovative molecular genomic laboratory technologies for rapid TB and drug-resistant TB diagnostics (within 2 hours) have been introduced in all regional and city bacteriological laboratories based in TB institutions. In 2018, interferon gamma release assay T-SPOT®.TB, relevant in extrapulmonary tuberculosis diagnostics, was put into practice at the republican level to identify latent tuberculosis infection among children and contact persons at TB high-risk populations (people living with HIV, children, elderly patients).

As stated by Malik Adenov, NGOs facilitate the advocacy work on prevention and treatment adherence, guidance and support when going through testing etc.

At the seminar, a number of issues as regards to the epidemiological situation of tuberculosis in the world and Kazakhstan have been discussed i.e. modern methods of laboratory diagnostics; new approaches to address problems with the registration, management and monitoring of TB cases; the work of TB specialists as part of the integration in primary health care; risk factors of advanced TB forms and preventive measures; involvement of civil society in the TB response and setting up of mutual aid groups; the special aspects of anti-epidemic measures among children in the foci of tuberculosis, morbidity among contact persons; commitments of the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis for the period up to 2022; results of infection control measures monitoring at the primary health care level.

WHO End TB Strategy has set the targets of achieving a 95% reduction in number of TB deaths and a 90% reduction in TB incidence rate by 2035. Joint efforts of all interested authorities and organizations will result in reduction of TB incidence, prevalence and mortality of the population.

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