Turkish CSOsOn 22nd of June, the Turkish Anti-TB Association warmly welcomed TBEC Board and Secretariat members at their headquarters in Istanbul. One of the key outcomes of TBEC Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2021 is to ensure TBEC network to be a high performing, accountable and united TB network. Part of that process involves an expansion of the network’s membership, as well as strengthening the existing contacts with various national and regional civil society organisations. Thus, linkages to the Turkish CSOs are considered central to ensure network’s sufficient “coverage” of the WHO Europe region countries, as well as an interesting opportunity for further cooperation and exchange. During the meeting, both – TB Europe Coalition and Turkish anti-TB association – provided overview of organisation’s background, current activities and key thematic areas of focus, as well as discussed possible avenues for cooperation and coordination. Following the meeting, the Turkish Anti-TB Association led a short tour around its headquarters, which also served as a local TB dispensary in one of Istanbul’s areas.

When it comes to TB incidence rate in Turkey, it is relatively low in comparison to surrounding neighbour countries – 18 per 100 000 people, with only small percentage – 0.7 per 100 000 people – attributed to XDR/MDR-TB. HIV rates are also on the raise, which may have implications on the rate of HIV/TB co-infection in the future. Turkey has also seen a raise in TB incidence rate amongst refugees from Syria and migrants from Caucasus, Central Asia and African countries. At the moment, there are 75 public and private laboratories with drug susceptibility testing capacity for first-line TB drugs, and 26 laboratories with rapid diagnostics for detection of DR-TB. The DR-TB patients are usually hospitalized for a certain period of time (2 to 3 months) at one of the four chest hospitals before being discharged and referred to one of 180 TB dispensaries for DOT and case management. Everyone with MDR/XDR-TB is treated for free, including foreign nationals. If needed, TB dispensary ensures social support such as bus tickets, food packages etc.Turkish CSOs1

Established in 1927, the Turkish anti-TB association is one of the oldest if not the oldest NGOs working on TB in the country. The Association works in four key areas 1) TB service delivery; 2) education; 3) advocacy and 4) information and communication. When it comes to TB service delivery, the Association offers health services through 10 TB dispensaries in Istanbul. It includes diagnosis (Association has its own laboratory, including rapid molecular testing) and treatment, including outpatient care and various patient support (food packages, transport fees, accommodation, monetary incentives etc.)). The Association also carries out regular trainings of doctors and nurses, who work in tuberculosis dispensaries and organises Turkey Tuberculosis Congress every two years. With regards to information and communication, the Association is responsible for wide and long-standing communication campaign in early January – Tuberculosis Education and Propaganda Week, which includes various community awareness campaigns in Istanbul, as well as more targeted symposia and training for healthcare professionals. Furthermore, the Association is also very actively working with NationTurkish CSOs2al TB Programme Manager with regards to TB-related legislation, resource allocation or new policy developments. Since 1947, the Association receives part of its funding from the Entertainment Tax (via the local provincial governments), as well as additional income generated via legacy donations (from rent/sale of gifted properties).

The Turkish anti-TB association is also active at regional and international health conferences such as Wolfheze and the Union world conference on lung health, which can provide opportunities for peer-to-peer coordination and exchange of best practices in the future.

For more information on the visit, please contact TBEC Officer, Anete Cook (anete.cook@results.org.uk).


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