DSCF2153From 15 to 19 April 2015, members of the TBEC Steering Committee visited Tajikistan in order to meet with key stakeholders working on Tuberculosis (TB) and build the advocacy capacity of civil society and communities. This was the first TBEC visit in Central Asia and was facilitated by the recently created STOP TB Partnership Tajikistan and the organization hosting its secretariat, Young Generation for Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is one of the 15 high-burden countries for Multi-Drug Resistant TB in the WHO European region. Since 2000, TB incidence has decreased from 250 to 100 cases per 100 thousands inhabitants. While general TB rates are improving, widespread poverty combined with mountainous terrain continue to limit access to health and TB services. In 2014, a total of 5313 new TB cases were reported.

The country is currently drawing up its third national TB programme. The programme, however, remains heavily dependent on external financing, with close to 70% of NTP resources being provided by international donors, mainly the Global Fund and USAID. Other challenges for TB care relate to high rates of MDR- and XDR-TB, increasing incidence of TB among Tajik labour migrants, and difficult access to TB treatment in prisons.

DSCF2154After three days of bilateral meetings with government, international organisations and NGOs, the TB Europe Coalition organised a two-day workshop in Dushanbe that gathered 16 participants, representing community-based organisations, NGOs working on TB and former TB patients.

The workshop, organised with the financial support of the STOP TB Partnership, provided participants with a sturdy base for advocacy and communication activities while helping them to conceive a set of advocacy actions that will be integrated into the work plan of the recently created STOP TB Tajikistan.

During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to exchange with various experts, including the NTP Manager and the Global Fund Portfolio Manager. They gained insight into the Global Fund as well as the role of key affected populations and civil society. Participants thus had the chance to discuss concrete ways to increase communities’ involvement in Global Fund processes.

The discussion triggered many ideas for action, including the creation of a TB patients’ organisation, which would allow for the inclusion of community voices in the CCM and other decision-making bodies.

The TB Europe Coalition stands ready to support STOP TB Partnership Tajikistan and Tajik civil society to increase the active participation of NGOs and communities in TB care in Tajikistan.

 

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