2017-07-17 10:37:00

Imams to combat TB in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek, July 17, Interfax - Clergymen will be trained to counter tuberculosis in Kyrgyzstan, the republican Health Ministry press service told Interfax.

"Imams, clergy of mosques and representatives of regional kazyyats [territorial branch of Muslim board] began to take training courses in regions of the republic to these ends," the interlocutor of the news agency said.

"Organizers of a training course, namely the Kyrgyz National Center of Phthisiology with assistance of the USAID project, have set the goal to resolve the issues of combating the epidemic of tuberculosis in the republic in a complex manner involving clergymen," representative of the Let's Defeat Tuberculosis project Dilshat Khaitov told the news agency.

"One should acknowledge that religion became an integral part of any country and exerts a major influence on public, socio-economic development now," Khaitov said.

"An economic crisis, high unemployment rate and poverty resulted in reevaluating and loss of moral and spiritual foundations. Therefore, given an increasing authority of religious figures, we decided to take advantage of this to fight tuberculosis in the republic," he said.

The Friday prayer dedicated to the issues of health in the Islam and tuberculosis in particular was held for the first time ever on March 24, when World TB Day is marked, at 1,770 Kyrgyz mosques, Khaitov said.

"Continuing our efforts which we began to make, we want to raise the level of awareness in religious communities regarding tuberculosis prevention and control and inform people about the current problem and discrimination against patients sick with this disease and members of their families and the ways to overcome them [these problems]," Khaitov said.

The training program for clergymen involves a course on the main terms regarding tuberculosis, epidemiological situation, prevention and transmission of the disease, he said.

A certain decline in overall tuberculosis incidence rate is observed in the republic over the past six months of this year, the Kyrgyz Health Ministry said. Some 2,540 people who got sick with tuberculosis for the first time that account for 41.3 people per 100,000 local residents, including convicts held in penitentiaries, were registered in H1 2017 against 2,647 in H1 2016 (43.8 people per 100,000).

The Tuberculosis-5 national program has already been elaborated and is being coordinated, the Health Ministry said. The action plan for providing anti-TB aid in the republic for 2017-2026 was approved by the Kyrgyz government's decree.