Countrywide survey on drug-resistant tuberculosis in Uzbekistan to strengthen treatment and elimination plans

Published by WHO

14 August 2023

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and WHO have joined forces to provide assistance to the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan in conducting a crucial drug-resistance survey. The survey aims to determine the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) strains resistant to anti-TB drugs, including rifampicin, isoniazid, fluoroquinolones, bedaquiline and other repurposed TB drugs, to strengthen planning efforts.

Strengthening strategic planning and patient-oriented treatment

The survey has involved 2 stages. The initial stage, conducted in 2022, focused on developing the survey protocol using the available epidemiological data, creating an inventory of the infrastructure for TB service provision, reviewing internal and external quality assurance algorithms for TB diagnosis and data management, and designing the database.

The implementation stage began on 19 July 2023 with the enrolment of the first patients who will participate in the study. They will receive patient-oriented treatment based on detected resistance patterns.

The outcomes of the survey will help estimate the number of patients with drug-resistant TB in the coming years, forecast drug quantities required for diagnostics and drugs procurement, and reveal gaps in routine drug-resistant TB surveillance capabilities. All of this will contribute to strengthening the country’s planning efforts for patient-oriented treatment and TB elimination.

While this represents a significant step forward for Uzbekistan, the results of the study will also feed into global evidence on rates and types of drug resistance. This will support the implementation of the Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2023–2030, which aims to reduce TB incidence by 80% and TB deaths by 90% by 2030.

Training and data collection

WHO provided extensive training to laboratory personnel and coordinators to ensure the successful implementation of this comprehensive drug resistance survey.

While data ownership remains with the country, WHO offered to host data on its domain using the WHO-endorsed health information platform DHIS2/DRS Tracker, adapted to the country’s requirements. The data collected will serve as a vital resource for Uzbekistan’s efforts to combat TB and strengthen its health-care systems.

The collaboration between WHO, USAID and the Ministry of Health highlights their shared commitment to addressing the challenges posed by drug-resistant TB and to ensuring better health outcomes for the population of Uzbekistan.


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