USAID Urban TB LON project launching event By Birhane Tadesse-ACSM Advisor
USAID Urban TB LON project was launched virtually on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
REACH-Ethiopia and its Consortium implement Urban TB Local Organizations Network (LON) project.
Urban TB LON has been awarded to REACH-Ethiopia by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project aims to strengthen the community contribution on TB case detection in the three Urban Settings: Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Harari Region. Moreover, Urban TB LON project’s additional aim is to strengthen the capacity of Local/Civil Society Organizations on TB Programming and create enabling environment in supporting Ending TB efforts of the Ethiopian government.
The project launching event commenced with an announcement of the agendas for the sessions by REACH-Ethiopia/Urban TB LON’s Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization advisor Birhane Tadesse. After a welcoming speech by Mr. Gemeda Bora, the Executive Director of REACH-Ethiopia the participants introduced themselves. Through the moderation of Dr. Anteneh kassa, USAID Development Program Specialist, Dr. Yewulsew kassie, Senior Infectious Disease Advisor and Activity officer Representative (AOR gave a key note speech explaining USAID’s intervention on reducing TB in high burden countries like Ethiopia. He also requested for thorough and kind support from the government in the process of realizing this vision and building the capacity of local organizations to sustain the impact.
Then, Mrs. Hiwot Solomon from Ministry of Health, Director of Disease Prevention and Control, gave an opening remark followed by Dr. Getachew’s Wondimagegn, USAID Urban TB LON project manager detailed project description. On his presentation, Dr Getachew conveyed who the implementing partners are; the intervention setting, objective of the project, expected outcomes and innovations to follow in the era of COVID-19. Though, the project run a bit late, Dr. Getachew emphasized that with the support of the strong team in the project and with kind cooperation form main stakeholders, the project is envisioning to achieve its target and so much more.
After the presentation, Dr. Anteneh took the floor for facilitation of feedbacks and questions from participants. Harari Regional TB coordinator Mr. Alemshet Tadesse and Dire-Dawa TB Administration TB Coordinator Mr. Teklu Mole appreciated the intervention of this project for its relevance in terms of filling their financial and technical gaps on their TB related work at community level.
Mr. Taye Leta from Ministry of Health who is National TBL prevention and Control case team leader, on his feedback, underlined the potential contribution of this intervention as the urban TB case is increasing at a higher rate because of high migration and growing slum dwellers in the city. He said there is an increasing TB epidemic in urban settings and this project will have a significant role in terms of reducing the burden in such cities and also bring impact at National level.
Dr. Ahmed Bedru, KNCV Country Representative raised his concern about the implementation period with a probability of further delay but the USAID team strongly conveyed that there won’t be any room to compromise the project timeline and any delay will risk the success of the project. They said it is obvious that we are already behind the schedule but the only way to come out of it is through catching up with the revised milestone. Dr. Yewulsew also appreciated the support from Ministry of Health and the regional bureaus and requested for perseverance in their support.
For the final closing remark, Mrs Hiwot took the floor and wrapped the session confirming their support in all possible capacities and her conviction towards fighting TB through joining hands with each stakeholder and the event ended at 11:30am.
Urban TB LON project will collaborate and closely work with the Ministry of Health, Regional/City/Administration Health Bureaus, Local/Civil Society Organizations representing the local community and former TB patients, health facilities with the aim to enable find the missing TB cases and create enabling environment towards ending TB in Ethiopia by fostering self-reliance.