UNDP reports on activities to fight HIV, TB and Malaria in 2013: despite some improvements, situation remains challenging

19 Mar 2014

image"One stop" service staff showing what type of drugs they have (screenshot from a video).

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – Introduction of a “one-stop” service for for people living with HIV, 15% increase in success rate of treating multi-drug resistant patients, lack of local malaria transmission were the highlights of UNDP’s report on implementation of Global Fund grants in 2013. The report was presented on March 18th during a special event with participation of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Global Fund, members of the Parliament, Ministry of Healthcare, Office of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and other government as well as non-governmental organizations

In his opening remarks UNDP Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan Alexander Avanessov noted that 2013 was one of the most successful years in terms of implementing all three grants. “As of today, all three grants received A rating from the Global Fund. Delivery of medicines and medical accessories are streamlined and patients are receiving necessary treatment for HIV-infection, TB and malaria” he said.

In 2013, 14 million US dollars were directed to tackle these diseases focusing on the most important issues. Currently, more than 1000 people living with HIV continue to receive vital antiretroviral therapy, while over 800 people with multi-drug resistant-TB started their treatments. Morover methadone maintenance therapy aimed at reducing HIV spread among injecting drug users now covers more than 1000 people.

HIV: The situation has not improved, but it hasn’t worsened either

As part of the efforts to fight HIV, UNDP reported several significant achievments in 2013 that helped to create better treatment conditions for people living with HIV, eased HIV testing procedures and covered more drug users in the methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) via five new MMT points.

“Since the start of the implementation period, UNDP listens to the people living with HIV and responds quickly to requests of the community” noted Burul Isaeva, President of the Association “Unity of People Living with HIV”.

One of such responses was the new “one-stop” service opened at the Bishkek city AIDS center. Now people living with HIV (PLHIV) have access to vital services: methadone maintenance therapy, anti-retroviral drugs and TB drugs in one place. Earlier, these services were provided in three different parts of the city, causing major logistic problems for PLHIV.

“Moreover, clients of the center can now consult with a team of doctors that includes a narcologist, psychologist, venerologist, psychiatrist, a specialist on infectious diseases and representatives of the PLHIV community – all in one place” says Iskender Shayahmetov, director of the Bishkek city AIDS center.

From November 2012  to October 2013 UNDP also piloted saliva-based tests for HIV in partnership with several non-government organizations. These tests require no medical education and special facilities allowing to reach most-at-risk populations that were not covered by public health organizations due to stigmas in the society. Partner organizations tested 4500 clients and revealed 226 HIV positive people.

HIV incidence among the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2013 decreased by 32% compared with 2012. However, there is an unfavorable trend in the number of cases of HIV infection among women – since 2001 the proportion of women among PLHIV has tripled rising from 9.5% to 30.7%. Majority of them are most likely to inject drugs or sexual partners of infected drug users. The total number of officially registered cases of HIV infection reached 5115.

TB: fighting mult-drug resistant forms is a priority

One of the critical issues in fighting tuberculosis in Kyrgyzstan has been treatment of multi-drug resistant forms of the disease. UNDP reported some improvements in this area in 2013: compared to previous years, treatment default rate dropped by 21.5% while the treatment success rate increased by 15%. Furthermore, national partners highlighted the work on social support of patients and motivation of health care providers based on treatment results.

The overall epidemiological situation related to TB in remains tense: Kyrgyzstan is a country with a high incidence of TB and prevalence of drug resistance. According to WHO, incidence rate in 2012 was 141 per 100,000 or 7700 cases annually.

Malaria: waiting for malaria-free status

As part of the malaria grant, UNDP implemented many preventive activities like distribution of protective nets among vulnerable populations, treatment of houses and facilities with chemicals. These measures led to the fact that there was no local transmission of malaria or parasite carrier registered in the country for the last 3 years. Kyrgyzstan already applied for and expects to receive the malaria free certificate from WHO.

Alexander Avanessov stressed that these results  would have been impossible without close cooperation with partners. “I would like to thank all our partners – government agencies, especially the Ministry of Healthcare and the Minister personally, as well as specialized institutions like the National AIDS Center, National TB Center and its director, National Center on Addiction and the Department of Sanitary Inspection, and more than 100 other organizations that we work with” he added.

UNDP is the Principal Recipient of three Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria grants in Kyrgyzstan since January 2011. The grants are implemented in accordance with international reporting standards and transparent management and control procedures. UNDP traditionally submits annual reports on the implementation of GF grants to members of the Country Coordinating Mechanism, national partners, civil society and media.