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New US aid to Kyrgyzstan to increase monthly COVID-19 testing by 80,000

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Jyldyz Turdaliyeva, a lab technician at the Republican (National) Blood Centre in Bishkek, on August 14 uses a dosing device to collect serum to check whether brucellosis, a bacterial infection, is present in a patient's blood. Blood from donors at the centre undergoes a full lab work-up.  [File]

BISHKEK -- The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun delivering $652,000 (53.9 million KGS) worth of laboratory supplies and equipment to Bishkek, Naryn, and Osh cities and At-Bashy District of the Kyrgyz Republic, the US embassy in Bishkek said in a statement Monday (December 28).

The aid is expected to increase Kyrgyz COVID-19 testing capability by 2,700 tests per day.

"This is a long-term investment," said CDC Central Asia Director Dr. Daniel Singer. "The donated equipment will not only help the country fight the current pandemic but will keep helping it to fight the spread of other infectious diseases in the future."

Equipment going to Kyrgyzstan includes 10 PCR Thermal Cyclers, at a total value of more than $300,000 (24.8 million KGS). They can use a wide range of test systems produced by various manufacturers, significantly increasing the country's COVID-19 testing capacity.

This latest donation is part of $1.38 million (114.1 million KGS) worth of support pledged by the CDC to help Kyrgyzstan combat COVID-19.

Millions in aid

Overall, the United States is providing more than $5 million (413.6 million KGS) in support for Kyrgyzstan from its various agencies, including the US Agency for International Development, CDC and US State Department.

It ranges from oxygen concentrators to epidaemiological analysis software.

Regionally, the United States has donated millions of dollars worth of aid to Central Asian health ministries since the pandemic's outbreak, including organising trainings and providing technical assistance.

Areas requiring assistance include "emergency operations, laboratory operations, infection prevention and control, screening at ports of entry, risk communication and community engagement, and disease surveillance", said the embassy.

The CDC also is translating technical guidance documents into Russian for distribution.

This year CDC/Central Asia is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The first CDC office in Central Asia opened in 1995 in Almaty.

Today CDC staff are stationed in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. They help those countries' health ministries train workers, strengthen their health systems and respond to COVID-19, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis and other infectious disease epidemics.

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Thank you very much, America! It's very timely help.

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