Ensuring future success in our joint struggle to counter Tuberculosis in Iran

22 Sep 2013

 

Raising awareness on tuberculosis: Distribution of information pamphlets in schools (Golestan province)

“We’ve learned to improve our processes.  We now have better planning mechanisms and higher capacities for monitoring and evaluation in our health system!” said the speaker.  “In fact, the Global Fund project has not only helped to improve our tuberculosis programme management capacities – it has also helped us to measure our own achievements by teaching us to systematically document our good practices.”

The speaker was Dr. Hamid Kamalinia, Director of the Center for Disease Control in Golestan University of Medical Sciences.  He was one of several presenters during a day-long consultation workshop in Tehran on 17 September 2013. 


An old man affected by tuberculosis disease, covered by Directly Observed Treatment Short course in northern Golestan province, one of the hotpots of the disease

The event brought together officials and experts from six other provincial medical universities partnering with UNDP under a Global Fund grant entitled “Tuberculosis Prevention in High Burden Areas in the Islamic Republic of Iran”. 

The purpose of the workshop was to review proposals from the seven universities on the Transition Planning Process, as the Government gears up to take full ownership of the project following its planned completion this year.  The workshop was organized by the Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health, with assistance from UNDP as the Principal Recipient of the grant.

The workshop was a follow-up to a national consultation process starting back in 2012 which resulted in the launching in April 2013 of a so-called “Transition and Sustainability Plan”. 

Since its start in 2008, the “Tuberclosis Prevention in High Burden Areas in the Islamic Republic of Iran” project has significantly contributed to the country’s health system capacities in prevention and diagnosis of tuberculosis, and enhancing the health infrastructure of the seven provinces most hard-hit by the disease.  These are Sistan & Baluchestan, Golestan, Hormozgan, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi and Khuzestan.


From right to left: Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative and Mr. Tooraj Akbarloo, UNDP

Earlier in the opening ceremony of the workshop, Director General of the Center for Disease Control of Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Dr. Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, praised the continued support extended by UNDP as Principal Recipient of the grant, as well as WHO as a prime source of technical assistance, in implementation of the project. He stated that the value of the partnership would be revealed in the long run, when the number of individuals infected with the disease in the country would decline as a result of these joint collaborative efforts.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Gary Lewis, in his welcoming statement praised the excellent efforts of the Ministry of Health and the powerful capacity of national and provincial institutions in contributing to what he described as a “long list of impressive achievements of the project in the area of tuberculosis prevention and control”.

Pointing to “the critical role of the universities in ensuring the sustainability of the future of these initiatives”, he emphasized the importance of “our non-governmental partners to share the responsibility for implementing the plans that we are making.”

“And we all have to remember that tuberculosis is not the issue of one country or for people of only one social status – it should be of concern to us all”, said Mr. Lewis, adding in his concluding remarks, “So public awareness-raising initiatives need to be an essential part of all tuberculosis control plans.”