On 22nd -23rd February 2016 National Tuberculosis and Leprosy control programme conducted a consultative meeting that brought together umbrella organization (MKUTA and NACOPHA) aiming to strengthen collaboration among TB and HIV affected communities for TB and HIV control and care
The main objective of this meeting was to bring together the two – TB and HIV affected communities for integration of TB and HIV service provision at community level. The meeting focused on identifying gaps, challenges and opportunities for integration of TB and HIV services at community level, Sharing experience on efforts made combining the intervention for controlling the epidemic as well and establish way forward to strengthen collaboration
The meeting was prolific since 33 PLHIV from various PLHIV district cluster and TB survivors shared their experience on how they have been integrating TB activities in HIV response as well as challenges encounters. among issues discussed there were common challenges that encounter to both communities such as stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and TB patients (self and community), low knowledge on HIV/TB among CHBCs , low knowledge among communities on HIV/TB, selfishness to some of CSOs/CBOs leaders, existing HIV committees does not integrate TB issues, lack of fund , HIV policy and guidelines do not include issues for addressing TB and vice versa, Misconceptions, religious and cultural beliefs, self stigma among HIV/TB patients
In addressing these challenges mentioned using the available opportunities, the meeting came up with a number of recommendations as follows; the government to develop a joint policy addressing issues of HIV/TB, Establish a joint networking mechanism for community service providers (CHBCs), develop a joint coordination mechanism of activities among MKUTA and NACOPHA within the community, develop a joint guideline for CHBCs, NACOPHA to review her strategic plans to include TB/HIV issues and develop a joint plan showing roles and responsibilities of TB/HIV coordinators at the district councils
Speaking during the meeting Coordinator from the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ms. Lillianne Ishengoma explained the objective of the meeting and elaborate how the Global fund was obtained, Ms. Ishengoma said fund was allocated to the ministry of health through National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program and Save the Children for intensifying case TB again fund for allocated for HIV intervention was spent on purchasing ARVs. She also said the focus is to engage non TB CSOs within the community and touched on the current TB prevalence including the gap the country faces for early diagnosis of TB patients.
The two umbrella organization coincided to continue working together from the national level to the community level through a declaration made in Morogoro and witnessed by a ministry representative Miss. Liliane Ishengoma. The two umbrella organization plans to launch their collaborations for fostering the working relationship.