DUSHANBE, March 7, 2012, Asia-Plus -- The USAID Quality Health Care Project on March 5 held opening ceremonies for two HIV/AIDS Resource Centers at Dushanbe City Health Center #4 and Dushanbe City Health Center #10.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, doctors and nurses from the health centers, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in HIV/AIDS prevention and education, celebrated the opening of these new innovative centers for addressing the HIV epidemic in Tajikistan.

Health center staff asked representatives from the Resource Centers to help them learn more about HIV and the stigma faced by those suffering from it, so they can improve the quality of medical services they provide to people living with HIV.  The doctors and nurses plan to use the Resource Centers for roundtable discussions with representatives from HIV-focused NGOs and their clients, and for training events about HIV/AIDS.  Incidence rates of HIV in Central Asia have risen dramatically in the past ten years, particularly in vulnerable populations such as prisoners, sex workers, injecting drug users, and migrants.  Stigma and discrimination contribute to this problem by discouraging vulnerable populations from seeking counseling on prevention and medical care. The Resource Centers are a key step in addressing this problem.

Tajik State Medical University will train clinic staff on modern approaches to treat HIV patients, allowing medical practitioners to better utilize resources available in the new centers.  USAID provides support to the Tajik State Medical University and has equipped each of the Resource Centers with three desktop computers, one laptop, a printer, and office furniture.

Narzullo Huseinov, Director of City Health Center #4, said, “I am very happy to have the opportunity to closely cooperate with the USAID Quality Health Care Project.  The HIV/AIDS Resource Center will help us further improve our work with NGOs, and will give our specialists the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about HIV, which will in turn lead to better medical services for at-risk populations.”

The USAID Quality Health Care Project is one of the many assistance projects made possible by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.  Since 1992, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has provided approximately $984 million in programs that support Tajikistan’s democratic institutions, health care, education, and economic growth.