We continue the Tajikistan Needs Assessment Initiative, which aims to help civil society to improve interaction with government entities in TB response, as well as build effective cooperation between civil society organizations working in the field of TB control.

Initially, within the framework of the TB-REP 2.0 project, this initiative was planned as a technical assistance visit to Tajikistan, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was moved to the online format, which significantly increased the circle of organizations engaged in discussion.

Thus, with the direct participation of our main partner in the country «Stop TB Partnership, Tajikistan» the constructive negotiations have been already held with the civil society organizations involved in-country TB response, the WHO Country Office, the Red Crescent Organization of Tajikistan, the Member of Parliament actively involved in Global TB Caucus activities, a Consultant working on Tajikistan’s latest proposal to the Global Fund, the USAID Eradication of Tuberculosis in Central Asia (ETICA) project, Médecins Sans Frontières in Tajikistan, and the country’s National Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Secretariat.

On August 27, another important online meeting was held with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan, attended by the Head of the Department of Sanitary and Epidemiological Safety, Emergencies and Emergency Medical Aid of the Central Office of the Ministry, Vohidov Sukhrob Davlatovich, Director of the State Institution “Republican Center for Population Protection from TB” Rajabzoda Aslidin Saidburkhon, TBEC representatives Paul Sommerfeld, Yuliia Kalancha, Krystyna Vilyura, Mariya Makovetska, program coordinator of PAS Center Svetlana Nikolaescu and representatives of the «Stop TB Partnership, Tajikistan» Safarali Naimov, Abdusamad Latifov and Ehson Tursunov.

As a result of the discussion, the participants identified the main areas of cooperation between the Ministry and CSOs, namely: participation of civil society representatives in the development of strategic documents, in particular, the National Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, the Global Fund application, and the Transition Plan from donor to public funding, as well as active support of CSOs within prevention and information activities. In addition, partners discussed the possibility of allocating funding from 2021 to partially cover services aimed at supporting TB-affected people, and the possible participation of CSOs in these processes.

In conclusion, the partners tentatively agreed to hold a “Meeting on Building Social Partnership in TB Response” in October 2020, which will be attended by key TB stakeholders in Tajikistan. Prior to this, TBEC scheduled to hold several more official online meetings.

“We have already implemented similar initiatives in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus in 2019 and more recently in Ukraine already in an online format due to COVID-19 restrictions”, – shared experience Paul Sommerfeld, Chair of the TBEC Board, – “The country needs assessments themselves open up links with government and trigger reflection on coordination between CSOs. They also serve as preparation for a National Dialogue, in the framework of which all major TB stakeholders in the country come together to jointly explore and plan steps to actively involve CSOs in the development, implementation, and monitoring of national TB programs.”.