The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Project aimed at combating HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is operating in our country for over 10 years. Working closely with national partners under this project UNDP could achieve great results in the fight against three diseases, including eradication of malaria in Tajikistan and greatly strengthen the national capacity to combat tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. 

About the Project priorities and perspectives tells us Mr. Tedla Mezemir, the Program Manager. 

- Mr. Mezemir, please tell us about the project. How did you get started? 

- UNDP has long been a partner of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in the field of health care. Since 2003, UNDP is the principal recipient of the Global Fund (GF) to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As part of the Global Fund grants UNDP makes a direct and significant contribution to the fulfillment of national programs aimed at combating these diseases. Our competence also includes the monitoring and evaluation of ongoing work and monitoring the effectiveness of the use of the resources. 

UNDP, as a key partner of the Government of Tajikistan and the Global Fund to combat these dangerous diseases, from the very beginning has focused on three main components: the development of national capacity to develop policies to combat these diseases, as well as ensuring the effective management of funds allocated by the donor – GF. Using donor’s funds and its own resources, UNDP was able to make a major contribution to the development of health infrastructure; for example, several hospitals, laboratories, medical centers in many regions of the country were built and repaired. Thanks to integrated approach in the implementation of anti-malaria activities malaria cases and foci have significantly reduced in the country; comprehensive prevention program has helped to keep the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country in the concentrated stage, i.e., spread of the disease did not go beyond high-risk groups. In addition, within the framework of all TB patients have been secured by medication by 100 percent. 

In addition to donor funds since 2005, UNDP has invested its own resources to the implementation of health programs. Only about $2.6 million has been allocated to support the execution of GF programs and capacity building of national centers and civil society. 

- In September 2015, the timing of all of the current Global Fund grants, which were aimed at combating HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will be completed. Do you think it is necessary for Tajikistan to continue being supported by the Global Fund? 

- The Government of Tajikistan has come a long way in the fight against the three diseases, and achieved significant results. However, to sustain control epidemics, it is necessary to continue to mobilize resources. I think the good news is the fact that the National Coordinating Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (NCC) is entitled to receive from the GF additional funds. Under the new funding model GF has already allocated $32 million to Tajikistan for the period from 2015 to 2017. 

  - Republican Centers for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are sub-recipients of UNDP in the implementation of Global Fund grants, but in the future it is anticipated that these centers will be able to implement the grant. Please tell us how the centers are ready to perform this work? And what steps have been taken by UNDP to prepare specialists of the centers? 

- UNDP is supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in implementing the Plan on capacity building and transition as Principal Recipient. In 2013, UNDP recruited experienced international and local consultants. 

In addition, to support the capacity of local structures, UNDP helped in organizing the work in strengthening financial management in key institutions responsible for the control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Thus, three of the Republican Centers: Center for Tuberculosis Control, Center for Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS and the Centre for Tropical Diseases, as well as their regional offices across the country were included in this work, in order to optimize and improve their financial management. In particular, the transition from a paper-based reference to the use of automated software for keeping accounting records and implementation of the international financial reporting standards. 

Based on independent evaluations and recommendations of the experts "1C: Accounting 8" system was implemented in these republican centers. All this will not only significantly improve the accounting and cash management centers, but will also be crucial in the implementation of projects and grants from the country by international donors and other investors.

Modern software is now installed in 15 medical institutions across the country, and we hope it will allow the centers to achieve high standards of reliability and efficiency. Consultants invited by UNDP to assess and capacity development centers also helped to improve the personnel policy, procurement and supply systems, and many other aspects of the health programs. 

- How do you assess the implementation of national programs to combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Tajikistan? 

- As already noted, throughout all these years, thanks to the support of the Global Fund grant, Tajikistan has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Firstly, malaria in the country was virtually eliminated to date: in 2005 there were about 2.5 thousand cases of malaria, and in 2014 just three cases. HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan continues to be concentrated stage, HIV prevalence is less than 0.06%, according to official statistics, the first half of 2014 (Report RAC). With regard to tuberculosis the program was able to achieve full coverage of treatment and supervision of tuberculosis patients. In addition, by the GF support treatment of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis is carried out. 

The project supports the implementation of national programs to achieve the results specified in the Millennium Development Goals, which also includes the fight against infectious diseases and which the states-UN members are planning to achieve by 2015. I would like to note that the UNDP activities in the sphere of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the period of its work in 2013-2014, according to the donor’s assessment, was carried out at the highest level. Therefore, good results have been already achieved, and we are ready to continue our successful work for the benefit of the people of Tajikistan.