Uzbekistan opens two new disease laboratories

Two new disease laboratories built with U.S. funding have opened in the central Asian country of Uzbekistan.

The labs will monitor disease outbreaks throughout central Asia’s most populous nation and aid the government in improving overall health in the country country. The labs were finished in December 2010 and are ready to receive modern equipment, according to

The two structures cost $1.3 million to build and equip. They will also function as regional diagnostic centers. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which funded the project, will offer training courses for the lab’s workers on how to use and maintain the new equipment.

Representatives from Uzbekistan’s ministries of foreign affairs, defense, health and agriculture, and water, as well as DTRA, will be on hand to officially launch the new facilities, which are located in the Ferghana Valley cities of Ferghana and Andijan, reports.

The Ferghana Valley remains one of the most densely populated regions in central Asia, as well as one of the most potentially explosive. The valley is a patchwork of ethnic enclaves that do not fit easily within national borders.

In 2005, political unrest in the city of Andijan resulted in Uzbek government forces firing on protestors, leaving several hundred to over one thousand dead, depending on estimates, reports.