Rapid Tuberculosis Treatment Will Help Migrants, Says IOM in Tajikistan

New treatment regimens for TB patients will greatly benefit migrant health. Photo: IOM/ Florian Bachmeier         

Dushanbe – Rapid tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics methods and new drugs for drug-resistant forms of TB with short-term treatment regimens were at the centre stage of a two-day conference on Integrated Tuberculosis Control in Central Asia which concluded in the Tajik capital Dushanbe today (14/09).

These new approaches are giving hope, especially for the growing migrant population in the region.

“Interrupted treatment has been one of the critical factors exacerbating the TB burden and contributing to the development of TB drug resistance throughout Central Asia,” noted Dr. Jaime Calderon, IOM’s Senior Regional Health Advisor for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Shorter regimens definitely increase the chance that treatment is completed.”

The region hosts millions of migrant workers, who seek work predominantly within the region and in the Russian Federation. Migrants remain particularly vulnerable to the disease due to their living and economic conditions and face structural barriers regarding healthcare.

Dr. Calderon added, “If we want to end TB and ensure that we reach the objective set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals of leaving no one behind, access to timely TB diagnosis and treatment and continuity of care in host countries and at home are indispensable.”

The Europe/Central Asia region bears the highest proportion of multi drug-resistant TB globally, and IOM recently contributed to the development of two landmark documents. The United Nations Common Position on ending TB, HIV and Viral Hepatitis confirms that collaboration between sectors is essential to address social, environmental and economic factors that affect people’s health.

The Global Compact for Migration commits signatories to incorporating the health needs of migrants in national and local health care policies and plans, by strengthening capacities for service provision, facilitating affordable and non-discriminatory access, reducing communication barriers, and training health care providers on culturally sensitive service delivery. 

“The Global Compact establishes a migrant-centred approach to the challenges posed by migration,” observed Dr. Calderon.

This week’s event was co-organized by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Republic of Tajikistan, the National TB Programme and USAID. Later this month IOM will join a high-profile event focused on HIV, TB and viral Hepatitis in Europe and Central Asia at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

For more information please contact Rukhshona Qurbonova at IOM Tajikistan, Tel: +992 90 505 43 00, Email: