Ambassador Ken Gross, Deputy Minister of Health Sohibnazar Rahmonov and Firuza Abdullaeva of the Tajik charitable organization “Avesto” presented  9,800 kilograms of lentils and vegetable soup mix to patients at Tajikistan’s National TB Hospital today as a part of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded program.  USAID, in cooperation with Avesto and the American organization Resource and Policy Exchange, Inc. (RPX), has distributed over 37 metric tons of enriched food supplies to date to over 22,000 people across Tajikistan.

Ambassador Gross noted during the ceremony: “Tuberculosis continues to be a serious public health issue in Tajikistan.  Under nutrition is a well-established risk factor for TB. It is clear that improved nutritional status can have significant impact on TB morbidity and mortality. Improved micronutrients intakes of vitamins and minerals can improve impaired immune response in TB patients.”

The USAID Office of Food for Peace-funded project will work in Tajikistan through November 2011 to enhance food security among children with disabilities, tuberculosis patients, and other patients in health care facilities in Tajikistan.  The latest donation of $93,049 will assist residents of over 77 social institutions, including specialized treatment facilities in Tajikistan.  The shipment includes a dehydrated vegetable blend enriched with vitamins and minerals that institutions will use to prepare soup for the residents.  Avesto has delivered the food supplies to the recipient institutions and is monitoring their distribution.

Breedlove Foods, Inc. produces the Harvest Lentil Pro soup mix, which consists of dried carrots, potatoes, soy, rice, and lentils, and is enriched with vitamins and minerals.

Led by Tajik women, Avesto works to improve health of women and younger generations; to enhance childhood and motherhood protection; and to assist vulnerable populations, particularly families with many children, women suffering from anemia, disabled children, and residents of orphanages and boarding schools.

RPX’s main mission is to improve health standards and access to information, through support to international not-for-profit organizations in the form of international technical assistance and material resources, such as food and pharmaceuticals.

Food for Peace project is one of many assistance projects provided by the USAID.  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.