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Civil Society Organisations
A Round Table on TB Determinants Held in Ukraine by the TBEC Member Group

A Round Table on TB Determinants Held in Ukraine by the TBEC Member Group

On October 2, 2014, the Public Movement ‘The Ukrainians Against TB’ has held a round table ‘Political, Economic, Social, Medical, Cultural and other Determinants of TB Epidemic in Ukraine’. The event was held at the premises of the International Renaissance Foundation. The goal of the round table was to bring together key TB experts from the state, non-governmental, academic, medical and other sectors of the society, representatives of donor organisations, mass media, to discuss the current determinants of the TB epidemic in Ukraine and develop recommendations to reform the state policy on TB and other socially dangerous diseases. This discussion was part of series of activities aimed at enabling a more effective national response to TB and other socially dangerous diseases, on the basis of multi-sectoral cooperation and multi-sectoral responsibility, with the anticipated outcome – the introduction of the legislative initiatives into the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and lobbying the adoption of the legislative acts by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.   Among others, following topics were discussed at the round table: – Groups of high risk to TB, their size estimates, defining criteria for defining risk groups, – TB prevention among groups of risk as a part of More…

Patients Groups Rally in Ukraine as Government Fails to Conduct Essential Drug Purchase Tenders

Patients Groups Rally in Ukraine as Government Fails to Conduct Essential Drug Purchase Tenders

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian patients were left without drugs for treatment, when government did not manage to conduct tenders for 80% of drug purchases under the state health programmes, the joint press-release from prominent patients organisations in Ukraine informs. On September 24, 2014, patients groups and families have gathered in front of the Government Building to demand that Ukraine’s Prime Minister assumes personal responsibility so that the drug purchasing tenders are completed in full. Among the programmes affected are HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, oncological diseases, haemophilia, multiple sclerosis, and some others. “There was not a single time when in the last ten years of Ukraine’s independence that patients were left without essential drugs for treatment under such programmes as oncology, heamohplia, virus hepatitis, TB, HIV/AIDS and others. This is a complete failure of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine that we testify of. The Ministry is incapable of conducting drug tenders this year,” – said  Dmytro Sherembey, the Head of “Patients of Ukraine” Charitable Fund. Photo from the web-site of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS

TBEC talks advocacy at Wolfheze Conference

TBEC talks advocacy at Wolfheze Conference

This week, many members of the TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) are attending the 16th Wolfheze Workshops in The Hague, the Netherlands. The workshops, jointly hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), aim is to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) control in the WHO European Region. What are the Wolfheze Workshops and who is involved? The workshops provide a platform for national TB programme managers, health authorities, laboratory experts, national TB surveillance correspondents, civil society organisations and other partners to discuss past achievements and future challenges. As all these groups come together under one roof, the workshops really provide an invaluable opportunity for sharing experiences, discussing progress and planning for the development of Region specific methods for fighting TB based on a consensus-building approach. TB remains a critical issue worldwide and the WHO European Region where, every hour, there are 49 new TB cases and 7 deaths, is no exception. The problem is particularly acute when you take into account multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). An estimated 76,000 MDR-TB cases occured in the WHO European Region in 2011, accounting for nearly 25 percent of cases worldwide. These shocking figures illustrate why it is so important so many More…

New global coalition of TB activists is launched

New global coalition of TB activists is launched

A new network, the Global Coalition of TB activists (GCTA), that aims to put communities affected by tuberculosis (TB) at the centre of decision making in the fight against TB was launched yesterday, as the Stop TB Partnership explain here. The global coalition emerged after talks in Geneva, hosted by the Stop TB Partnership in February, ended with the recommendation that the Community Task Force (advocates serving on various Stop TB Partnership working groups) restructured into a broader global coalition. This broader coalition aims to represent and unite communities affected not only by ‘standard’ TB but also multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB/HIV in order to achieve greater coordination in fighting for  a TB free world. Dr Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, welcomed the news. He noted the importance of ‘ensuring that access to TB services must increase for everyone but especially for vulnerable and stigamtized groups’ – something that is impossible achieve without the involvement of communities, activists and civil society organisations. The group aims to be a catalyst of change, influencing the global TB control agenda and empowering patients and patient groups. The group state that the objectives of More…

Wolfheze Workshops 2013

Wolfheze Workshops 2013

From 29th – 31st May, The Hague will place host to the 16th Wolfheze Workshops 2013. These workshops aim to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) control in the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Region, with an emphasis on sharing experiences and discussing progress and plans for development of Region specific guidance based on a consensus-building approach. The workshops allow for national TB programme managers, health authorities, laboratory experts, national TB surveillance correspondents, civil society organisations and other partners to discuss achievements, challenges and ways forward. This year, the programme focuses on the progrress made since the Berlin Declaration in 2007, the launch of the ECDC Framework Action Plan to Fight Tuberculosis in the European Union in 2008, and the Consolidated Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Multi-drug- and Extensively-drug resistant (M/XDR-TB) in the WHO European Region in 2011. The event will also cover progress on diagnosis, treatment and models of care, enhanced case-finding within high risk settings, extrapulmonary TB, TB among vulnerable populations, including migrants and prisoners, childhood TB, and the role of civil society. Given that the role of civil society is key in the fight against TB, this year the workshops aim to have a much bigger CSO presence. There More…

Tackling TB in Ukraine's Prisons

Tackling TB in Ukraine’s Prisons

Medicins Sans Frontiers have recently published an article highlighting the plight of many prisoners in Eastern Europe as a result of the escalation of TB in countries, and in particular within prisons. MSF identifies Ukraine as a country where “prisons are a hotbed for the disease, with prevalence rates more than ten times higher than in the rest of society”. In one region, MSF are currently providing treatment and support to over 140 inmates and ex-inmates who all suffer from multi-drug resistant TB. Effective treatment and support is, of course, vital for anyone living with TB, but it is of great importance to remind ourselves that there exist many people living with TB who can easily be forgotten. Equally, as MSF state, “many prisoners come from difficult socio-economic backgrounds” and “some face a history of drug abuse and alcoholism”. For these people it is vital that they get the necessary support in order to help them last the course of treatment and defeat TB for good. As Yulduz Seitniyazova, MSF Head of Mission in Ukraine, explains: He [sic] needs to know what treatment involves from the very start, and if things get tough we try and motivate him to continue More…

European Commission adopts new strategy to support civil society

European Commission adopts new strategy to support civil society

Yesterday we posted a blog highlighting the importance of civil society organisations in the fight against tuberculosis. In light of this we wholeheartedly welcome news that the European Commission (EC) is to adopt a new strategy to support civil society in partner countries. A new Communication produced by the EC, ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’, acknowledges how important civil society is both with regards to promoting democracy and also in enhancing equitable development. As the Communication says: The EC acknowledges the vital work of CSOs in partner countries in giving marginalised groups a voice and access to services as well as empowering them to take part in the political processes which affect them We made clear  in yesterday’s blog how significant Speranta Terrei had been in helping patients access services to help them combat TB, both medically and psychologically, and so it is fantastic to hear the EC using this language in it’s Communication. The Communication includes several key announcements as to how it will serve to strengthen engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs) in the future. Importantly, it suggests that the EU will take stronger action in countries that fail More…

Tackling TB in Moldova: Speranta Terrei and the importance of civil society organisations

Tackling TB in Moldova: Speranta Terrei and the importance of civil society organisations

The Republic of Moldova has a considerable TB problem. In 2011, out of a population of 3 million, 4,208 people were diagnosed with TB. Compare this to the 3,528 people diagnosed with TB in Germany, out of a population of 82 million, and the alarming rate of TB in Moldova really hits home. Moreover, Moldovan has a high burden of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) that makes tackling the problem significantly more difficult. 19 percent of all new cases of TB in Moldova are estimated to be MDR and 51 percent of all retreated cases. To add to the problem, Moldova is also a predominantly rural country. This not only makes carrying out national TB prevention programmes much harder, but it also increases the chances of patients not being able to complete treatment as a result of having to travel much longer distances to reach treatment than those who live in cities. Some patients are also too weak to walk far or even lack money for a bus fare to take a trip to a dispensary. If treatment isn’t completed or stopped early drug-resistant strains can emerge, thus further compounding the problem of MDR-TB. There are, however, civil society organisations that More…

TBEC meets with TB stakeholders in Moldova

TBEC meets with TB stakeholders in Moldova

From 12 until 16 August 2012, Paul Sommerfeld from TB Alert UK, Fanny Voitzwinkler from Global Health Advocates France and Cristina Enache from Romanian Angel Appeal met with TB advocates in Chisinau and Balti, Moldova. Our visit was facilitated by PAS: the Centre for Health Policies and Studies (NGO Principal Recipient of the Global Fund for TB and HIV) and Speranta Terrei (a community-based organisation based in Balti working with TB patients). The main objectives of the TBEC visit were to inform local advocates about the TB Europe Coalition, EU advocacy, the Berlin Declaration and the M/XDR-TB Action Plan, to explore how TBEC might assist with the advocacy concerns of Moldovan NGOs and draw Moldovan TB advocates into TBEC. 13 August: preliminary meetings – Chisinau During the first day of the visit, the TBEC met with the Centre for Health Policies and Studies (PAS) Director Viorel Soltan (former Deputy Minister of Health, former GFATM board member for the European region and current Chair of the Global Fund Finance and Operational Performance Committee) and his staff to get an understanding of the local dynamics when it comes to TB care and control, the impact of the GF cancellation of Round 11 More…

Apply for funding to do TB advocacy!

Apply for funding to do TB advocacy!

Last week, the Stop TB Partnership launched its latest round of its Challenge Facility for Civil Society (CFCS). The CFCS is a small grant mechanism for grassroots level community work on TB. Grants will be given in amounts between US$ 5,000 and US$ 20,000 to civil society organisations to do advocacy activities in countries with high TB burdens. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director the of the Stop TB Partnership, has said: “For this round, in order to address one of the most crucial needs in TB,  the special focus of the successful applications should be  on activities that build the capacity of civil society to advocate for services and that contribute to the  creation of  a network of advocates prepared to speak out and raise consciousness  about challenges in reaching affected communities with TB care and help solve bottlenecks in TB programmes or Global Fund grant implementation.” The deadline to apply is 30 September, 2012. More information can be found here.

TB Europe Coalition meets with TB stakeholders in Bulgaria

TB Europe Coalition meets with TB stakeholders in Bulgaria

Last week, members of the TB Europe Coalition travelled to Sofia to meet with the Bulgarian National TB Programme and civil society organisations working on TB to learn more about TB activities and advocacy in Bulgaria. The first day in country, coalition members met with representatives from the National Patients’ Organisation, a non-disease specific umbrella organisation that unites more than 70 patients organisations in Bulgaria. NPO’s activities include national advocacy in which they engage in the legislative process around healthcare, supporting members working in disease specific areas by capacity building, patient empowerment and creating patients groups, and working with the general public by running a call centre that communicates directly with citizens and provides medical and legal advice. NPO currently does not have a TB-specific organisation representing TB patients in Bulgaria, but expressed strong interest in working together to create one. The TB Europe Coalition also met with Bulgaria’s National TB Programme during which they learned more about the successes achieved and challenges faced in TB control. Bulgaria’s National TB Programme receives funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria – funding that is essential to filling the gaps in the National TB programme and funds all More…

Call for applications for members to serve on “The Green Light Committee for WHO European region (GLC Europe)”in 2011-2013

The Stop Tuberculosis (TB) Partnership and the World Health Organization Announce Call for applications for members to serve on “The Green Light Committee for WHO European region (GLC Europe)”in 2011-2013. In response to the need for scaling up the programmatic management of drug resistant tuberculosis in the WHO European Region, the Green Light Committee is establishing a GLC Europe.  GLC Europe will function as an advisory committee to WHO Regional Office for Europe, to WHO’s European Member States, donors and partners. The Secretariat of the GLC Europe will be hosted by WHO Regional Office for Europe. Following the decision of the 20th Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board meeting on 31 March – 01 April 2011, the Stop TB Partnership and WHO Regional Office for Europe, announce the call for applications of members to serve on the GLC Europe.  The selection will be based on technical expertise, working experience and constituency background, details of which are provided below. Applications are being sought to serve on GLC Europe for a term of two years from June 2011 to June 2013. The selection of members will be conducted by a committee convened by the Stop TB Partnership (STP), the TB European Coalition and More…

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