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International News

TB Situation Deteriorates in Uzbekistan

April 24, 2002

International organizations and human rights groups are alarmed about the increasing TB rate in Uzbekistan and other former Soviet Union countries, and they believe that overcrowded and unsanitary prisons may be one of the primary causes. "The tuberculosis situation in all countries of the former Soviet Union is considerably worse than in West Europe or in North America," said Vladimir Verbitski, head of the World Health Organization mission in Uzbekistan. The situation worsened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Verbitski said.

The Common Country Assessment of Uzbekistan, published by a UN team last year, found the current case notification rate -- approximately 60 per 100,000 people -- was more than 50 percent higher than in 1994. The Uzbek Ministry of Macroeconomics and Statistics said the death rate from TB among women increased from 4.9 per 100,000 in 1990 to 8.1 per 100,000 in 2000. Among men, the rate increased from 8.1 per 100,000 in 1990 to 19.1 per 100,000 in 2000. In addition, the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan reported 104.5 TB cases per 100,000 people in 1998 -- 25.8 percent higher than the rate in 1994.

"It is believed that the TB situation is rapidly deteriorating," the UN assessment team said. The reasons for this, the team said, are "the current socio-economic status of the country, environmental degradation, the low level of health education among the population, the late diagnosis of TB cases, the lack of drugs and laboratory supplies, insufficient treatment due to financial constraints as well as living conditions in Uzbek penitentiaries." Verbitski said he considered prisons "one of the main tuberculosis breeders," due to overcrowding, sanitary conditions "which are not always good" and special contingent groups contained in the penitentiaries.

Ezgulik, the human rights society of Uzbekistan, reported two people had died in prison from TB. The group is "concerned over high amounts of deaths as a consequence of tuberculosis," said Ruslan Sharipov, spokesperson for Ezgulik.

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Adapted from:
United Press International
04.23.02; Marina Kozlova



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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