WHO seminar participants

At the end of July 2015, two members of the TB Europe Coalition were invited by WHO Europe to give a two-day training on engagement of civil society and community in psychosocial care for TB stakeholders in Uzbekistan. The training was given jointly with the Uzbek NGO Intilish and gathered stakeholders ranging from the NTP, the DOTS centre, TB doctors, the Women’s Committee, the Youth Organisation Camelot, the Mahalla Foundation, and the NGO Ishonch va Hayot.

Participants were presented with regional and international policies on TB, regional perspectives and examples of community and civil society involvement in TB care as well as best practices on existing mechanisms of cooperation and coordination. Interactive discussions, role plays and group exercises were carried out to expose participants to the practicalities of patient-centered care and start discussion on the implementation of the recently developed psychosocial guidelines on TB care.

Uzbek stakeholders generally understand well the added value of involving communities in TB care, and although the number of NGOs working in the field of TB care is small, prominent community actors such as the Mahalla Foundation, the youth organization Camelot and the Women’s Committee have great structures in place to reach out to the communities at the local level. They are definitely key actors to involve in the implementation of the psychosocial guidelines and in any attempt to improve TB care at the local level.

Participants were mainly interested in the concrete implementation of the guidelines, how this will be done in practical terms and how to overcome challenges related to additional budget needs for human resources (social workers, psychologists etc…).

Participa

Participants interacting  at WHO-sponsored workshop in Tashkent

Coordination was a key topic of discussion. Participants admitted that coordination among different stakeholders was lacking and were presented with best practices from the region, where national and local coalitions made of purely civil society or multistakeholder platforms were created. An adapted coordination mechanism on the implementation of the psychosocial guidelines should be put in place to evaluate challenges and design solutions for better impact.

The TB Europe Coalition also held bilateral meetings with MSF, USAID, UNDP, Project HOPE, and the EU delegation where it discussed the importance of community involvement in TB care. We hope that the psychosocial guidelines on TB care will soon be adopted by the Uzbek government, which should improve case detection, treatment adherence and patient well-being.


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