This week we have a blog from our member, Project Hope, on the interim results of their project on the Implementation of Highly Effective Measures of Prevention and Treatment of TB among Children and Adolescents in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, which were presented at a round table organised on the 1st November in Almaty.

The project launched in March this year to improve the organization of TB prevention measures among adolescents and children in Atyrau. It is being implemented by the international organization Project HOPE-Kazakhstan within the framework of the Social Investment Program of Tengizchevroil LLP and in cooperation with the National Research Center of Phthisiopulmonology of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The representatives of organizations involved in the project – the N ational Research Center of Phthisiopulmonology, Tengizchevroil LLP, educational and health institutions, as well as the representatives of the Project HOPE and other international organizations attended the roundtable event.

During the course of the event, information on the epidemiological situation with TB among children and adolescents in the Republic of Kazakhstan and in the Atyrau region, as well as the results of the project were presented.

In particular, it was noted that over the past 10 years, the situation regarding the registration of cases of tuberculosis in the Republic of Kazakhstan has been improving: the incidence of tuberculosis has decreased by 2.5 times and mortality from tuberculosis by 6 times. From 2013 to 2017, the incidence of tuberculosis among children (0-14 years old) and adolescents (15-17 years old) decreased by 1.6 times in Kazakhstan. However, in western regions, this indicator is several times higher than the national average. In 2017, the incidence of tuberculosis among adolescents in Atyrau Oblast was 1.5 times higher than the national average. Therefore, it was decided to implement the project in this region/

One of the reasons for such statistics in the Atyrau region is the low coverage of new-borns by BCG vaccination, as parents refuse vaccination due to personal and religious beliefs. In addition, the low level of awareness by kindergartens and school personnel, as well as by the parents, about the symptoms of tuberculosis and the possibilities of the Atyrau health care system to diagnose TB and drug-resistant TB rapidly, lead to delayed calls for medical care. Therefore, increasing the alertness of health and non-health personnel, the educational institutions to the symptoms of tuberculosis, as well as raising public awareness of the necessity and effectiveness of tuberculosis preventive measures are important components of this project”, explained Bakhtiyar Babamuradov, Project HOPE representative in Kazakhstan.

He presented the results of the project, noting that during the 7 months of the project implementation in Atyrau an expert conducted an assessment visit, trainings were held covering 138 staff of kindergartens, schools, colleges and other educational institutions, including nurses, as well as 50 health workers of maternity hospitals and polyclinics of the city. In addition, a training was conducted for journalists and bloggers in the Atyrau region. Effective cooperation between all project partners – local authorities, non-governmental, public and religious organizations, health care institutions, educational institutions – has been developed. It is expected that the conducted activities will contribute to the reduction of TB incidence among adolescents and children and to the improvement of disease detection.

This project is really important for the region. Today’s results demonstrate that the project is progressing well. Implementation of the project will allow working out new approaches in organization of prevention, diagnostics and treatment of tuberculosis among children and adolescents and will change the situation with TB for the better. We are grateful to all partners and, of course, to Tengizchevroil LLP, with whom Project HOPE has been cooperating effectively since 1993 when the project to strengthen the diagnostic and therapeutic capacities of medical institutions in Atyrau region was implemented jointly. I am sure that this project will contribute to improving the quality of health care services for children and adolescents,” said Mariam Sianozova, Project HOPE Regional Director for Europe and Eurasia.

The current project period ends on the 31st December 2019 and is expected to continue in 2020. The experience gained and the results will be presented to the specialists of the National TB Control Program of the Republic of Kazakhstan for further dissemination in other regions of the country.

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