Tuberculosis epidemiological review in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is one of the countries in the WHO European Region that has identified fighting tuberculosis (TB) as a key health priority; it is among the 30 countries worldwide with the highest burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Between 2007 and 2016, Kazakhstan initially reported an average 6% decrease per year in the TB notification rate. Following an impact analysis performed in 2015, however, the TB incidence rate was revised in line with the latest data. TB incidence in 2016 was 67 new and relapse cases per 100 000 population.

Epidemiological review of TB in Kazakhstan

The need for a follow-up to the 2015 analysis was identified and a review was undertaken in Kazakhstan on 21–25 August 2017. WHO assisted national experts in reviewing the TB epidemiological situation and assessing the performance of the surveillance system using a set of standards and benchmarks (1). The specific objectives of the mission were to:

  • describe and assess current national TB surveillance and vital registration systems, with particular attention to their capacity to measure the level of and trends in TB disease burden (incidence and mortality);
  • assess the level of, and trends in, TB disease burden (incidence, prevalence and mortality) using available surveillance, survey, programmatic and other data;
  • identify investment needs to strengthen surveillance and measure trends in TB disease burden;
  • identify the geolocation of TB, MDR-TB and TB/HIV hotspots at the subnational level, along with associated risk factors and social determinants.

A representative sample of TB care facilities was selected in 18 districts within three of the 16 provinces of Kazakhstan. These were visited by three teams of national and international experts. During their travels, the TB teams reported back regularly on their meetings and experiences. Social media users can follow the team’s reports via the hashtag #TBchat.

The outcome of this joint review will be used to assess the national TB programme’s performance and develop a surveillance system strengthening plan.

About TB

TB is an infectious bacterial disease caused mainly by Mycobacterium tuberculosis; it most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with active disease.