London, 9 December 2015- A World Health Organisation representative has celebrated a 10-year partnership resulting in 115,000 people diagnosed and treated for TB in the world's second most fragile nation.
Dr Rogers Busulwa, WHO a medical officer in Somalia has said the partnership between World Vision, the WHO, the Global Fund, the Ministry of Health and the local community has been very effective in a country that has struggled for years with civil war, floods, droughts and population displacement.
"[In fragile states] sometimes a government's not in the position to have the institutions and mechanisms to be entrusted with a grant the Global Fund makes available to countries," Dr Busulwa said.
"We have a partnership where World Vision can be the principle recipient - receiving the money and ensures accountability - the WHO as a technical partner assists programme implementation, the Ministry of Health are involved, they are partners...and the community is also involved. They are mobilised to participate in tracing contact with patients, making sure those who are identified are completing their treatment.
"It's a very good partnership. I think we should adopt it for other diseases."
Other benefits of the 10-year partnership has included strengthening of health systems across the country. Health centres have been established even in remote areas and in 2010 the partners opened the country’s first treatment centre and lab in Hargeisa, Somaliland, for dealing with drug-resistant TB.
Also, the work done by the partnership also contributed to peace-building by persuading opposing parties together to tackle TB together.
Ms Faisa Ibrahim, Director of Planning for Somaliland’s Ministry of Health, explained that “Different political opposition parties work together to actually be able to fight against the spread of TB.
“They are all advocates by default naturally because they are all interested in the well-being of society. They were actually able to put any other political differences aside…to come on board and support the programme.”
World Vision’s Chief of Party, Global Fund Grant, Dr Vianney Rusagara, said despite the success of the partnership with WHO, Global Fund, government representatives and other implementing partners, there was still a long way to go to beat TB in Somalia.
“Much more needs to be done because currently the programme is detecting 50% that means another 50% do not come to the treatment programme. A lot more will be done if these partnerships are strengthened and continue.”
Dr Vianney added that, for the next phase of the programme World Vision would be focusing on ensuring that its work in other sectors – water, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, etc. – also supported the partnership’s efforts to reduce incidences of TB in Somalia.
Watch as community members, partners - including the WHO - and World Vision staff talk about diagnosing and treating TB work in the chronically fragile Somalia.