The results of volunteer work have been presented at the VIII Congress of Pulmonogists and PhthisiatriciansMay 7, 2015
In the week of 4 May 201 5around 500 medical professionals gathered in Tashkent at the 8th Congress of Pulmonologists and Phthisiatricians of Uzbekistan to discuss the current situation of tuberculosis and especially MDR-TB (multi drug resistant tuberculosis) burden in the area. UN Volunteers (UNV) attended the congress to present the results of ongoing public awareness campaign in Karakalpakstan. The presentation “Prevention of tuberculosis: from old views to new approaches” focused on self-prevention of tuberculosis arising from positive behavioral change and on UN Volunteers’ experience in Karakalpakstan.
UNV has been working for several years on awareness raising about tuberculosis symptoms, prevention and treatment and promoting positive health behaviors in five rural districts of Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan. The aim of the community-based disease control campaign is to increase general knowledge of the population of tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases common in the Aral Sea disaster area; and to change the behavior of the people towards tuberculosis prevention and getting proper treatment, and against self-medication and stigmatizing TB patients.
In 2014 UNV in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Karakalpakstan and other UN agencies conducted 75 trainings for almost 1,800 community health volunteers, who became health messengers in 5 districts: Muynak, Kegeili, Karaouzyak, Nukus district and Shumanay. The volunteers reached out to 128,000 inhabitants of Karakalpakstan to increase the level of public awareness of respiratory diseases and knowledge on how to prevent tuberculosis. The trainings emphasized people’s capacity to affect their own health and taught preventative measures and ways to minimize the risk of being infected with tuberculosis.
To see the results of the campaign UNV conducted two interview surveys, in 2013 and 2015. The comparison of the survey results revealed that after the campaign people were clearly more aware on how to protect themselves from tuberculosis, as nearly all respondents in the target districts knew at least one way to protect themselves. The most common answers were “to ventilate the room“, “to cover mouth when sneeze” and “daily wet cleaning”. The increase in knowledge compared to the 2013 survey results was notable. Also general knowledge of tuberculosis and other diseases as well as trust in doctors had increased; and self-treatment and the negative attitudes towards TB patients had decreased.
The results of the survey analysis were presented to the congress audience. The congress was organized by the Organizing Committee of the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Center of Tuberculosis and Pulmonology of Ministry of Public Health of Republic of Uzbekistan, Scientific Medical Society of Phthisiatricians and Pulmonologists of Uzbekistan and Lung Association of Central Asia (LACA).