A National Hearing dedicated to World TB Day was organized by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the CCM Azerbaijan, TB Azerbaijan NGO Coalition, Saglamliga Khidmat Public Union, and the Research Institute of Lung Diseases on March 18, 2021.
Every year, more than 10 million people worldwide are infected with TB and 1.6 million people die from TB. Every 3 minutes, a child in the world dies from TB. The purpose of the event was to discuss the current situation with TB in Azerbaijan and in the world and to draw attention to this problem.
The event was attended by Rahim Aliyev, Deputy Minister of Health, Ramin Bayramli, Chairman of the Board of TABİB, Rashad Mahmudov, Deputy Chairman of the Health Committee, Milli Majlis, Representative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, and MPs Soltan Mammadov, Sadagat Valiyeva, Mushfig Mammadli, Ilham Mammadov, Dr. General Rafail Mehdiyev the chair of the Main Medical Department of MOJ, Dr. Yaver Shikhaliyev made opening remarks. The conference was also attended online by Askar Yedilbayev, Program Director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, Oqtay Gozalov, from WHO EURO, and Dr. Lucica Ditu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership, who made welcoming speeches.
A presentation was made on TB control measures implemented in penitentiaries, as well as the meaningful engagement of civil society organizations and communities in the fight against TB. It was noted that the fight against TB became more difficult during the pandemic, and the TB case notification rate decreased. During the conference, the steps to be taken to accelerate the fight against TB and the active involvement of civil society organizations in this process were discussed to achieve the goals set out in the political declaration adopted in UN General Assembly HLM on TB declaration in 2018. The needed amendments to National TB Law were summarized and discussed.
Parvana Valiyeva, TBEC Board member made a presentation during the Hearing event and stated, “When we focus on the fight against tuberculosis, 4,000 people die of tuberculosis every day, 700 of them children, which means that one child dies of tuberculosis every 3 minutes. Every day, 27,000 people are infected with tuberculosis. The Global TB networks, WHO, and other international organization, as well as the Global Fund, announced a drop in TB case finding during the pandemic. In 2020, 1.4 million fewer people will get TB diagnoses compared with 2019. The fewer people we find, test and treat, the more TB cases and deaths there will be.
The role of civil society organizations in the fight against TB has been proven, and WHO/Euro recommends new reporting indicators for measuring CSOs’ meaningful engagement in TB response. Because somehow, we need to measure CSOs’ engagement and not just report at international meetings, but to clearly understand what we mean when we say that CSOs are meaningfully engaged in TB response.
Why do we need to use the potential of CSOs during the COVID-19 pandemic? As COVID-19 spread around the world in 2020, health workers, testing machines, laboratories, and health centers were diverted from TB to fight the coronavirus as well as in our country.
At this point, CSOs can play a role in monitoring and identifying TB cases. Although CSOs do not treat the patients, they know how the patients should be treated applying to more people-centered approaches, CSOs offer case-by-case follow-up, psycho-social support, palliative care, juridical support from the beginning to the end of the treatment.
With the preparation of service standards of TB CSOs in Azerbaijan, as well as adding information about social contracting into the legislation, the participation of CSOs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, would be considered as a necessary and integral part of TB response. Without contributions from CSOs, it is not possible to meet the targets and end TB at the national, regional, and global level.” For more details, watch here.
Light up for TB event March 24, 2021
In 2021, Azerbaijan joined the global TB campaign with the initiative of “Saglamliga Khidmat” Public union and TB NGO Coalition. Each year, on 24 March, historical landmarks or buildings join the global movement and light up RED to bring attention to the devastating impact of TB. In 2021, Azerbaijan joined the global campaign with the initiative of “Saglamliga Khidmat” Public union and TB NGO Coalition. The Maiden Tower, the monument built in the 12th century, and Baku Olympic Stadium which was home to the First European Games light up red for TB.
“National TV channels made a live program in front of the Maiden Tower about the event and TB and we succeeded in putting TB on the country agenda on March 24. On that day, almost all of the mass media agencies published journalistic research materials, prepared video documentation on the TB situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a very unique, amazing advocacy achievement we did on WTBD”. You can watch it here, here, and here.
Interview to Sputnik, international media agency March 19
Every year, March 24 is celebrated around the world as International TB Day. In this regard, an event was held at the Sputnik Azerbaijan Multimedia Press Center.
Speaking at the event, Parvana Valiyeva, Executive Director of “Saglamliga khidmat” Public Union said that early detection and diagnosis of tuberculosis can be life-saving, and it is very important:
“As for the vaccine, I can say that it is more effective than treatment. The current TB vaccine is about a hundred years old and not so effective. Vaccine research on COVID-19 could be a stimulus for a new TB vaccine. Currently, we are seeing a temporary decline in the fight against tuberculosis. The detection of TB cases has decreased not only in our country but all over the world. Reports have been prepared on the consequences of these reductions. The “Deadly divide” report predicts that if we cannot speed up the detection of tuberculosis, we will go back tens of years in the fight against it.”
For more information check the links below: