Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a critical public-health threat in Central Asia, including Turkmenistan. The TB incidence estimate for 2015 was 70 per 100,000 population, with the multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) rate estimated at 16 per 100,000 population. The MDR-TB rate in new cases is estimated to be 14% and in retreatment cases as high as 38%. Rates of MDR-TB likely result from a number of underlying causes, including improper prescribing practices, misuse of medicines, and inadequate quantification and supply planning resulting in stock-outs of TB medicines. Decision making and managerial interventions aimed at overcoming these challenges are limited by a lack of reliable data, often due to weak information systems.
Improved use of information for decision making in TB control
In Turkmenistan, SIAPS strategies and support focused on improving the use of information for decision making by providing tools and technical assistance to build capacity for data collection, management, and use for operational and strategic decision making in the capital Ashgabat and in the region of Mary. SIAPS worked with national stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) and implementing partner WHO/Euro, who provided technical assistance in different areas of TB control.
SIAPS piloted the e-TB Manager tool in two areas to help the country transition from paper-based management and reporting. SIAPS, in collaboration with WHO, trained 22 participants on the e-TB Manager system and customized the tool for the local context. The training and pilot was ultimately not completed, but was handed over to the MOH to develop a domestic electronic system.
Turkmenistan still faces a significant burden of TB patients and MDR-TB with key pharmaceutical management challenges inadequately attended. SIAPS support enabled Turkmenistan to move from an ineffective, purely paper-based system to considering developing an electronic system for managing anti-TB medicines and patients.
 World Health Organization. Global Tuberculosis Report, 2015.