By Anna Medvedenko

From 5th to 7th of December, the regional meeting on strategic advocacy priorities was held in Tbilisi. The priorities that were discussed at the meeting included service provision issues as well as access to medicines and diagnostics to ensure people-centered TB care in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The event was organized by the TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) in the frames of the Communities, Rights and Gender Global Fund Strategic Initiative in partnership with the Center for Health Policies and Studies (Center PAS) within the TB-REP. Co-organizers of the event were MSF/Access Campaign and the ICF “Alliance for Public Health”. In general, more than 40 representatives of organizations of the national and international levels, including the technical partners – the Global TB Caucus and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, actively participated in the meeting. The diversity of the participants’ experience allowed discussing advocacy approaches in the context of three diseases that are particularly relevant for the EECA region – tuberculosis, HIV and HCV, as well as the general challenges in the light of countries’ transition to national funding.

During discussions and presentations the significant attention was devoted to advocacy for the availability of high-quality and affordable drugs for complex peopled-centered treatment in countries. In particular, the following issues were discussed:

  • How to maintain utilization of new diagnostics’ tools available now after donors’ withdrawal
  • How to ensure that new medicines are available in countries?
  • How to stop using injecting drugs in the treatment of TB?
  • How to promote LTBI treatment and management?

For most of the participants, these topics were particularly relevant, as due to the meeting they learned more about the current situation in the region, the WHO recommended approaches and the advocacy tools in this area, and also developed action plans for advocacy work in countries. Also, participants discussed the need of political will for all necessary changes, and accountability mechanisms after the UN High Level Meeting on TB for the implementation of such political will.

On the one hand, it was a tense three days filled with new information and fruitful discussions. On the other hand, these three days were not enough to discuss all the issues of concern. But overall, it was a good opportunity for participants to gain new knowledge and learn about the experiences of other organizations in order to strengthen work in these areas and share positive changes in countries at future meetings.


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