DSCF0463At a time of great challenges for Ukraine, twenty-three tuberculosis (TB) activists, representing twelve countries from the Eastern European and Central Asian region, gathered in Kyiv to attend a training aimed at strengthening their capacity to participate in national and regional TB responses.

The four-day TB Regional Network meeting is organised by the AIDS Alliance Ukraine and the TB Europe Coalition with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the STOP TB Partnership.

The training is especially timely considering the adoption of a New Funding Model by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), which will reduce funding for HIV and TB programmes in most of the countries of the region.

In this context, the TB Regional Network Meeting will inform the participants on the functioning of the new model and train them to meaningfully and effectively participate in GFATM’s processes in their respective countries. The meeting also provides an opportunity for civil society organisations (CSOs) from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to connect and share best practices in this regard, thus reinforcing regional cooperation.

DSCF0464bThe first day of the training focused on the need to refine the approach for the fight against TB and how civil society can contribute to this objective through GFATM funding. This is necessary if the TB community wants to accelerate progress and defeat TB before year 2180, when analysts foresee the eradication of the disease at the current pace. Through the presentations of experts from the STOP TB Partnership and the Global Coalition of TB Activists, participants had a chance to learn about essential components that need to be reinforced in TB programmes to avoid future generations from suffering from the disease. Community system strengthening (CSS) is central in this regard.

The NFM of the GFATM recognises that community support for health and social welfare has unique advantages because it increases community participation and the reach and impact of health systems.  In this sense, CSS is vital for making progress towards the goal of universal access to health care and realising the right of everyone to obtain the highest attainable standards of health, regardless of who they are or where they live.

DSCF0470In addition, the group discussed the importance of adopting a human rights and gender-based approach throughout all phases and processes of a GFATM’s application as a way to reduce barriers in accessing health systems, especially for vulnerable groups. The skills and knowledge acquired on these issues were immediately put into practice by participants through some interactive exercises and a group session in the afternoon of day one.

The training will continue until Friday 25 April with specific modules on the preparation of application for the NFM of the GFATM, national and regional advocacy tools and preparation of action plans for CSOs engagement within GFATM’s processes.

Interested to hear more about the meeting? You can read the final report of the meeting here.