Public hearing held in Azerbaijan Parliament on 30 January 2018
Public hearings were held on the 30th of January 2018 in Azerbaijan Parliament titled “Global calls and commitments – TB fight in Azerbaijan Republic”. The event was attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) governmental, national and international organizations, TB Azerbaijan Coalition members (TBAZC) and mass media. The following topics were covered: social support to TB patients, added values of CSOs in TB treatment and care, improving quality of TB treatment and care, need for government and civil society efforts in addressing the increasing level of drug resistant TB in the country, fight with TB stigma, ensuring sustainability of TB services after the Global Fund withdrawal, need for increasing TB awareness among general population and need for updating the “Azerbaijan TB Law”.
The public hearing event was held in a very open and serious manner, where each speaker addressed the existing problems and gaps in TB fight in Azerbaijan giving some global TB statistics as a comparison. The meeting was led by Mr. Ahliman Amiraslanov, Head of Health committee of Milli Majlis (Parliament) who emphasized the TB burden in the country and generally in the world. Currently, Azerbaijan is one of the highest DR TB burden countries which is increasing year by year. We have Azerbaijan law on TB in action to regulate and monitor TB issues, and also “Activity Plan of Cabinet of Ministers against TB” for 2016-2020 years, which considers improving the TB prevention, diagnostics and treatment.
The second speaker was Ms Sadagat Valiyeva, Member of Health Committee in the Parliament and member of Global TB Caucus, who presented the key TB facts. She noted that, TB mortality rate in Azerbaijan was terrifying in 1993 and WHO declared an emergency TB situation in the country. However, now, we have modern laboratories, effective diagnostic tools, drugs to treat MDR/XDR TB, and TB treatment is absolutely free of charge. It was mentioned that there were hardworking active NGOs in the country, who were involved in ensuring social support to TB patients during their treatment. In 2017, more than 600 MDR TB patients were involved in treatment within NTP. She also provided information about WHO End TB strategy that it has three main goals; to achieve 90% of treatment outcome, to reduce TB death to 95% and TB incidence rate to 90% by 2030.
Her suggestions towards achieving these goals are as follows:
- To increase number of public hearings on TB
- Active involvement of Civil Society
- Demonstration of TB educational social video on national TV channels, in public places and educational facilities
- Capacity building of TB healthcare providers
- Build up capacity of TB journalists and involve them in TB media researches
- To ease process of obtaining physical disability status for MDR/XDR TB patients
- Provision of social allowance for TB patients during their treatment
- Supporting palliative care for the patients who refused the treatment
- Developing and ensuring a compulsory health insurance mechanism to cover TB treatment expenses
For additional information please read the Community Report on TB in Azerbaijan.