AstraZeneca & Red Cross: Fight against TB in Central Asia
AstraZeneca's long-standing partnership with the British Red Cross Society is focused on helping the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement to deliver community-based programs in Central Asia which encourage people to seek early diagnosis, Improve patient compliance, provide care in the home, promote TB and TB/HIV awareness/education and address the stigma associated with the diseases. AstraZeneca's support has helped the Red Cross to expand its coverage and form strong relationships with ministries of health and partner organizations and is playing a significant role in helping national TB programs in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to stabilize and reduce TB incidence in these countries. In 2002, AstraZeneca started helping the Red Cross to address TB in Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, poor countries with a high incidence of TB. Since 2006, the company has also supported a program in Kazakhstan, aimed at mitigating the consequences of TB/HIV co-infection. All programs are managed by the national Red Crescent Societies. The Kyrgyz and Turkmen programs focus on improving patient compliance, raising awareness of TB and fighting the stigma associated with the disease. Progress to date includes: Over 10,000 people living with TB or TB/HIV successfully completed their TB treatment; TB treatment completion rates up to 89% and 92% in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, respectively; Increased awareness following media campaigns and health education sessions in schools and public places that reached more than 2 million people. The Kazakh program is providing community-based social support for people living with TB and HIV, and their families, bringing together social workers, psychologists and employment lawyers, with volunteers - many of them former patients - to support those on treatment and those who have recently completed treatment. Consultations encourage treatment compliance and help patients deal with social and emotional difficulties. Between January and September 2009, over 800 consultations, 68 group discussion and 73 home visits took place and some 1,800 food parcels were distributed. Treatment completion rates increased from 54% to 73% in 2008.