Armenian parliamentarians launch the Armenian TB Caucus during bilateral visit
On 9th and 10th of December 2019, Armenian parliamentarians and other stakeholders gathered to receive the visit of Mr Akaki Zoidze MP, from Georgia. Led by Mr Narek Zeynalyan, chair of the Health Committee of the Armenian Parliament, MPs launched a National TB Caucus and committed to elevate the topic of TB in the political agenda of the country.
The Chair of Georgian national TB Platform, Mr. Akaki Zoidze, travelled to Yerevan to meet with key stakeholders within the TB response in-country. The parliamentarian was accompanied by Ms Alesia Matusevych, Global TB Caucus EECA regional manager. Meetings in Yerevan were facilitated by Mr Zeynalian and with the support of Ms Anahit Harutyunyan, Head of the NGO «Positive People Armenian Network».
Organized by the Global TB Caucus, within the framework of Tuberculosis Regional Eastern European and Central Asian Project – TB-REP 2.0, supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, this was the first bilateral visit to Armenia after the last elections in 2018. TB-REP 2.0 is a multi-partner project that aims to foster timely TB detection and improved TB treatment outcomes by increasing political commitment and the implementation of people-centred models of care in 11 eastern European and Central Asian countries.
The region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia is home to the world’s fastest growing drug-resistant TB epidemic. In 2018 more than 27,000 people died from tuberculosis in Europe and Central Asia, and almost 259,000 new cases were recorded in the region. In general, the situation in the European Region is improving too slowly for the purpose of TB to be eliminated by 2030, how it was required by the relevant task under the Sustainable Development Goals.
Even though Armenia is not a high burden country according to the WHO list, multi drug-resistant TB represents a key challenge for the national TB program and the main obstacle for effective TB control in the country. Part of Armenia’s strategy is to ensure universal access to early and quality diagnosis of all forms of TB and to strengthen the involvement of communities and advocacy groups.
Armenia, amongst other EECA regions, is currently under a transition period that precedes the complete phase-out of funding from the Global Fund. The transition is a challenging period that requires consistent efforts from local governments to ensure domestic resources to maintain and continue improving the TB control programs. During the visit, parliamentarians and other stakeholders addressed this topic and discussed the next steps to continue the preparation for the transition.
1) Six members of the Standing Committee on Health Care and Social Affairs of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia and one MP from the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport participated in the meeting.
2) On the 9th of December seven MPs signed the Barcelona Declaration and proclaimed the establishment of the National TB Caucus.
3) On the second day delegation met with the Head and other specialists of the National TB Centre, visited the diagnostic, treatment department, introduced achievements, discussed obstacles. Discussed issues were shared via Viber group with Armenian MPs.
About TB.REP 2.0
TB-REP 2.0 is implemented by the Centre for Health Policies and Studies (PAS Centre) of the Republic of Moldova as the principal recipient, in collaboration with partners: WHO/Europe, Global TB Caucus, TB Europe Coalition and TB People. GTBC, as one of the implementing partners, has a key role in advancing policy changes and forge sustainable relationships between national and regional stakeholders in the fight against TB.