The College of Health Sciences (CHS) at the American University of Armenia organized a public seminar/panel discussion “I am stopping TB! Health System Approaches and Perspectives” to celebrate the World TB day. It took place on March 20 within CHS Public Health Seminars Series.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared March 24 as the World TB Day. The slogan for this year is: «I am stopping TB!» According to the 2007 WHO Global TB Report, 445 000 new cases of TB and 66 000 deaths due to TB occurred in the WHO European Region in 2005. The highest rates of TB are reported in the eastern part of the European Region, mostly in the countries of the former Soviet Union. According to the National TB Program, the number of newly detected cases in Armenia in 2007 was 1 534 (48/100 000); 144 of them were children 0-17 years old. The prevalence rate in 2007 was 109/100 000 (3500 people suffering from TB) and mortality rate was 5/100 000 (about 170 people).
The distinguished panel of the public seminar included Dr. Vahan Poghosyan, Coordinator of the National TB program, Ministry of Health; Gayane Ghukasyan, Country Program Coordinator for STI/HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases, World Health Organization Country Office; Sylvia Wust, Health in Prisons Program, International Committee of the Red Cross; Naira Sergeeva, Project Coordinator, Armenian Red Cross Society; and Alexander Pasechnikov, Regional TB Advisor, MSF France.
Dr. Vahan Poghosyan presented components of the National TB Program. He mentioned that on December 28, 2006 the Government of Armenia approved the second National TB Program for years 2007-2015 which is based on the Stop TB Strategy. Dr. Poghosyan emphasized that TB diagnosis and treatment are covered by the state and financing of TB programs is continuously increasing.
Gayane Ghukasyan focused on disease-specific/vertical approaches vs. health system/horizontal approaches to TB control. She pointed out that “inadequate health systems are one of the main obstacles to securing improved health outcomes for TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and strengthening health systems and adopting horizontal approaches is crucial these days.”
Seminar attendees included health NGOs, AUA alumni, students, and faculty, and the general public.