Strengthening the capacity of the local partners to tackle TB issues in Turkmenistan
UNDP provides knowledge and skills to staff of state and non-state institutions as part of its Capacity Development Programme. This is a key component of the project “Purposeful strengthening and Expanding of Qualified Services on TB Diagnostics and Treatment in Turkmenistan”, funded by the Global Fund.
One of UNDP national partner in the fight against TB is the National Society of Red Crescent of Turkmenistan (NSRCT). “During the last 4 years of the project implementation, the NSRCT has built financial procurement, program implementation, and monitoring and evaluation systems in accordance with the Global fund requirements. As a result, NRCST is now an active performer of the Global Fund grant and a key partner of the UNDP,” explained Muhabbat Akyeva, NSRCT project coordinator.
- The Global Fund grant total amount in Turkmenistan is USD 17.4 million.
- In 2012-2014 the project also renovated regional TB laboratories in Mary and Lebap.
- Coverage with drug susceptibility testing increased from 27% in 2011 to 44% in 2014, and to appx. 60% in 2015.
- DST coverage of the population throughout the country is set to reach 91% by 2018.
- There are 6 labs with rapid molecular detection of MDR-TB (Xpert technology) facilities.
- In total 614 MDR-TB patients were enrolled on treatment in 2013-2015.
- The National TB Programme plans to scale up MDR-TB detection and treatment, aiming to enroll 550 patients in 2016, 380 in 2017 and 383 in 2018.
NSRCT became a sub-recipient of the Global Fund grant in 2011. NSRCT activities include three main components and these are implemented nation -wide.
1. Monthly Parcels: They deliver monthly food parcels to the patients as a reward for adherence to the treatment plan. They monitor the quality and content of the parcels through inspections and surveys conducted among patients. Every month, NRCST delivers about 900 parcels across the country. Since 2011 it has delivered about 10 thousand parcels to patients.
2. Support for Multi Drug Resistant TB patient (MDR TB) In each region of the country, NSRCT has medical staff. These staff supports MDR-TB patients during a course of nearly 2 years of treatment. A nurse visits the patient at home or makes a phone call asking about the progress of treatment and, if necessary, provides assistance. In addition, the NSRCT organizes a School for Patients where patients and their relatives receive information about the TB and its treatment. Using NSRCT’s own funds and the grant monies, participants of the School receive food and hygiene items as an appreciation for their participation. Today, NSRCT supports nearly 300 patients and their families in all provinces.
3. Social mobilization of local communities, NSRCT support activities to reduce the stigma and educating people about TB. During the three years of the project, NSRCT has trained 497 volunteers on how to disseminate the knowledge in the field of treatment and prevention of TB, how to help people with suspected tuberculosis, as well as how to support patients during long-term treatment. Volunteers of NSRCT who are also members of the local councils, former patients and just active citizens conduct trainings to explain about TB with the population in their residential areas. Volunteers have helped several dozens of people to undergo medical examination, treatment and overcome prejudices related to tuberculosis.
The Global Fund grant in Turkmenistan will be extended for the next three years (2016-2018). It is planned that the scope of treatment and support for MDR-TB will be vastly expanded. NSRCT under the new grant will help to set more ambitious goals to combat TB in Turkmenistan.
“The Global Fund grant is the first one in the country. In addition, many measures to control TB, such as support for MDR-TB patients, have been launched for the first time. Distribution of the parcels to TB patients was previously done by NSRCT in an earlier phase but only in a few pilot cities and etraps. The Global Fund grant helped to cover all etraps of Turkmenistan. With support from UNDP, we have developed monitoring tools to help us do our work more effectively”. says TB Project Coordinator, Muhabbat Akyeva.