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The First Board Meeting of the Joint Programme UNDP-UNFPA “Building the Resilience of Local Communities Against Health, Environmental and Economic Insecurities in the Aral Sea Region” project financed by the government of Japan was held online on December 9, 2020. The programme is implemented in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The objective of the project board meeting was to report on the project results and present the proposed workplan for the next reporting period.

During the meeting welcome remarks were made by Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, Yulduz Abduganieva, Deputy Head, Consolidated Office of Demography, Employment and the Standard of Living of the Population, Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan , Mr. Yoshinori Fujiyama, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Uzbekistan, Mr. Jusipbek Kazbekov, First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and Mr. Yu Yu, UNFPA Representative in Uzbekistan. Moreover, during the meeting participants were able to know more on the Programme results for 2020 and Workplan for 2021. Participants were also informed on the impact of COVID-19  on programme activities: limited trips to pilot sites, slowdown in project, delay in the process of contracting, delays in equipment delivery, increase price for some types of equipment and transportation services.

Within the framework of this joint programme UNFPA CO has identified that according to the purposes of the cervical cancer screening programme the most up-to-date option of the screening method is HPV PCR testing based on GeneXpert® HPV testing equipment. Out of all project target districts UNFPA has defined the following four districts to be entrusted with the functions of testing centers: Chimbay, Kanlikul, Kungrad, Nukus. UNFPA has procured 8 Cepheid GeneXpert IV analyser with starter kit laptop to equip each of the four laboratories with two sets of equipment and 50 000 Xpert® HPV Assay test systems and reagents to be provided according to the number of women to be tested in each laboratory.

A set of information materials for population on cervical cancer and breast cancer prevention has been developed and it is now being translated into Karakalpak language.

In the framework of the programme UNFPA jointly with the Gender Commission of Senate launched coordinated mechanism to prevent and respond to the domestic violence. Standard operating procedures to Multi-sectoral response to GBV were piloted for police, mahalla, health sector, and shelters to provide psychological, legal, social, health and protection services.  130 presentative of the Council of Ministers of Karakalpakstan, Ministry of health, Ministry of Mahalla and Family support, Republican rehabilitation and adaptation centers were trained.

Among planned activities for 2021 from UNFPA side are:

  • Launch of the HPV screening programme to cover 50 thousand women in Karakalpakstan;
  • 10 trainings for 200 primary health care providers on cervicsl and breast cancer prevention, counselling and case management,
  • Building capacities of lab technicians to use provided HPV testing equipment
  • Building capacities of community leaders on raising population awareness in cervical and breast cancer prevention
  • 1 ToT for youth on HLS on peer education
  • 1 ToT for teachers on effective use of the manual “Basics of Healthy Lifestyle and family”
  • Series of cascade trainings for community health volunteers on HIV and STIs in total 1800 volunteers to be covered for further awareness raising activities among population