From the 12th-15th November, TBEC Capacity Building Manager Marichka Makovetska and TBEC Board Chair Paul Sommerfeld attended a three-day coaching visit in Azerbaijan as part of the TB-REP 2.0 project. The visit aimed to understand the overall context of the TB response in the country, with a specific focus on the capacity building needs of civil society organisations (CSOs) involved in TB care.

During the first day, TBEC’s civil society partner “Saglamliga Khidmat” Public Union organised a meeting with a variety of interested civil society organisations. The partners discussed priorities and barriers regarding access to people-centred TB care in the country and discussed the idea of the organization of a National TB Dialogue in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The partners discussed the focus on people-centred TB care as a part of the response to tuberculosis and the need for community services to ensure successful treatments outcomes. Civil society members present at the meeting mentioned that there are some positive examples of cooperation between state agencies and CSOs in the area of information and education projects on TB. Unfortunately, social support projects on TB are still implemented through Global Fund financing. It is, therefore, necessary to understand how, going forward, civil society players may be involved in TB response and receive support from the government to ensure service sustainability.

As one of the members stated, “it is important to show the government that CSO’s may play a key role in service provision to TB people and that there is a great need to contract NGO’s to provide community-based people-centred TB care”.

On the second day, the partners met with the main national stakeholders. First, the partners met Mr Zaur Aliyev, the CEO of the Mandatory State Health Insurance Agency.  This was particularly meaningful as the strategy for health insurance from 1st January 2020 was discussed, looking particularly at the coverage of TB services. Information was shared regarding the concept of health reform and the implementation of mandatory health insurance and assurance that TB services will be integrated at all levels of healthcare.

During the day, the partners also met Mr Yasar Orucov (Director of Global Fund Programme Implementation Unit under the Ministry of Health), Dr Naila Aliyeva (TB Program Coordinator) and Dr Dinara Abbas (Local Fund Agent representative for Global Fund). The partners discussed Global Fund processes and shared ideas about how CSOs may be involved in the process of developing the National Strategic Plan for tuberculosis. They also looked into methods to include the results of the upcoming National TB Dialogue in the National Strategic Plan. The partners then met Mr Gahraman Hagverdiyev, Head of the Public Health and Reforms Center of the Ministry of Health, and discussed how CSOs may be involved in TB work and what the perspectives are for the civil society involvement. Finally, they met with Dr Irada Akhundova, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of Lung Diseases, with whom the partners discussed people-centred TB care and what kind of social services CSOs could provide as part of TB response. We are pleased to state that all parties are positive about conducting National Dialogue on TB in Azerbaijan and bringing together mutual efforts on advancing people-centred TB care.

On the third and final day of the coaching visit, the partners were able to meet with several state authorities. The day began with a meeting with Mr Togrul Mammadli, Head of International Relations Department of the Council of State Support to NGOs. Partners discussed the mechanism of contracting NGOs for performing projects requested by the Ministries and potential possibility to include service provision options into such projects. Next, a meeting was held with Mr Musa Guliyev, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Health, and Parliamentarian and Member of Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mrs Sadaqet Valiyeva. Mrs Sadaqet is a representative of the Azerbaijani TB Caucus for the Global TB Caucus. This was a useful opportunity to discuss barriers in legislation and methods by which they might be able to be overcome, including the potential adoption of a new law on patients’ rights.

There was then a meeting with Mr Viktor Gasimov, NTP manager and Head of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Health and also a TB-REP 2.0 focal point, in order to discuss the possibility of organising the National TB Dialogue, particularly dates and agenda. Mr Gasimov seems to be very supportive of such an idea and will play the role of the key focal point from the MOH.  The day ended with a meeting with WHO and Dr Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office. The partners discussed perspectives and vision for involving civil society into the TB response as well as ideas on how to better show the results of NGOs work in providing social support and its impact on treatment success.

Finally, the dates for the National Dialogue were confirmed as the 3rd-4th December 2019 and all partners will work collectively to get practical results of the event which might be used by the country. If you have any questions about this, please contact makovetska@tbcoalition.eu.


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