DUSHANBE, February 9, 2012, Asia-Plus -- The number of new HIV cases in Tajikistan is growing from year to year. One of the objectives of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy of Tajikistan is aimed at guaranteeing access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for those living with HIV, report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) regional office for Europe on February 8 said.

An indicator of achieving this goal is that 90% of people living with HIV in need of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs receive them.  Activities to achieve this goal include ART as part of the education for all medical students and training of family doctors in ART provision to support integration of HIV treatment into primary health care services.

With the technical support of international HIV stakeholders, including WHO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Tajikistan has addressed HIV/AIDS issues and ART in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in order to ensure a sustainable approach in health human capacity development to manage and control this infection.  WHO missions in 2008 and 2011 helped to assess the situation, develop recommendations, and review progress on the issues.  They revealed that the HIV/AIDS and ART curriculum is still fragmented in medical education and needs to be properly addressed.

As a follow up to the WHO mission’s recommendations, a national working group was established The working group members include teachers from Tajik State Medical University.  With the technical and consultative support of WHO, the working group: revised and developed the curriculum for HIV/AIDS medical education for five university departments including: infectious diseases, epidemiology, microbiology, tuberculoses and lung diseases, obstetrician and gynaecology; developed a comprehensive training module on HIV/AIDS based on a module jointly developed by the I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical University, the WHO Regional Knowledge Hub and the American International Health Alliance (AIHA) ; and conducted a workshop facilitated by I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical University that focused on HIV/AIDS and ART teaching methodologies and practices for twenty university teachers that included practical sessions and working groups.

Within this initiative, WHO provided computers and other equipment to the Avicenna Tajik State Medical University to assist in the education process, and will continue its support to both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.