Samarkand, Uzbekistan is the heart of the ancient Silk Road. For centuries, people from across Asia have passed through this rich cultural area to exchange goods and share news. Now, health leaders are reaching deep into this community to trade ideas about how to stop the spread of TB. In a rural health clinic outside of the city, Dr. Dilshoda Buranova is leading a team of health care workers from around the region to coordinate the treatment and follow-up of TB patients.
In Uzbekistan over 20,000 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) annually. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, these patients not only fail to get better but may also infect others in their communities. Ensuring that lab technicians are correctly reading TB tests is one of the vitally important pieces needed to protect the public from TB.
USAID has been working with the government of Uzbekistan since 2000 to implement a complex set of activities to improve both the diagnosis and the quality of TB laboratory services in the country.
Ravshan grew up in Khujand, Tajikistan. He had no father and spent lots of time outside the home, sometimes pilfering in order to live. Influenced by his environment and lacking positive role models, Ravshan made friends with pick-pockets and started drug dealing. Later, he began taking drugs and was sentenced to prison for theft.
While serving his jail term, Ravshan decided to undergo HIV testing. Nearly one in five injecting drug users is infected with HIV in Tajikistan.
Maral is one of many outreach workers engaged in HIV prevention education for sex workers and drug users in Turkmenistan. Twice a week, she meets up with sex workers to conduct mini-sessions on HIV prevention and invites them to visit the drop-in center. At the center, they can join a monthly discussion group, consult with a psychologist, participate in trainings and get referrals for treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
“I knew how to preserve food before,” says Zaron Hafizova, “but often much of the food I preserved spoiled and I was unable to preserve enough.” Zaron’s husband, Rahmaddin Shekhov, adds to the discussion, remarking about their greenhouse, “Many years ago we used greenhouses, but during the post-Soviet period we stopped using them and forgot about them.”
While both Zaron and Rahmaddin, 51 and 50 years of age respectively, are experienced farmers, they benefited greatly from the greenhouse and food preservation trainings conducted by the USAID and Mercy Corps Tajikistan Stability Enha
“The water in this tea is from the new drinking water system in our village,” 42-year old Saidakbar Devlokhov proudly explains while sipping black tea from his small cup. “Now I can get it anytime I need.”
After years of neglect, the existing drinking water system in his village had fallen into disrepair. Residents of his picturesque village had to walk more than a quarter of a mile to the source to fetch water for everyday needs.
Hakimova is the head of her household. Her husband is a labor migrant in Russia eight months out of each year, but remittances come only when requested. Her family of five lives on $100 per month and grows their primary food sources: wheat, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, beets, and turnips. With a small orchard of fruit trees, the summer is bountiful in comparison to winter when food diversity is limited to non-perishable goods. Hakimova explains, “I don’t have the income to purchase preserved goods at the market.
Turkmenistan is a fast-growing state with a large youth population, making the issue of job placement for young people a hot topic. Supported by USAID and Chevron Nebitgaz, Junior Achievement programs in Turkmenistan are dedicated to helping young people realize their potential.
Myakhri Goshjanova graduated from secondary school in her hometown in rural Turkmenistan and found herself faced with the question of what she was going to do next.
“For the last three years, my yields have been 30 percent of what they were before,” says Sabur Kumischev, as he makes a sweeping motion with his hand indicating the land where his crops are grown. “All I could grow was corn. The other farmers could only grow corn. We had nothing to sell to each other and had to buy all of our food.”
Sabur’s village is about two hours outside the northern city of Khujand. For years, the community has relied on the limited water supplied by the local collective farm.
Doniyor Jumanov, a 17-year-old from a village two hours from the nearest city in northern Tajikistan, is particularly energized as he and the other apprentices move from one machine to the next constructing their creations.
The large two-room workshop is filled with scattered pieces of completed and half-finished furniture. Some pieces have a modern style, while others have a more traditional flair. The light coming through the large showcase window illuminates two large wooden chests