The government wants to exterminate civil society?

afi-prevenire-tbcCivil society organisations may be excluded as the primary recipient of the support provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, so that there is only one main recipient, representative of the government sector. The decision on the nomination of two main recipients (one from the non-government sector and one from the government sector) has been taken by the National Coordination Council for National HIV/AIDS/STI Prophylaxis and Control and TB control Programme, based on the recommendation of the Global Fund (dual-track financing) and the World Health Organisation. Thus, it was intended to ensure the partnerships in the field of health aiming to involve the community in the prevention and treatment of TB and HIV/AIDS to maximise the results of the control of these diseases.

The Moldovan health authorities now disagree and try to exclude the non-governmental sector as the main recipient of the support provided by the Global Fund. The real reasons are not being discussed officially, there are only suppositions. There is no doubt that the exclusion of the civil society from this process will be a barrier in the development of a complex voluntary sector, which seeks to improve the living standards and the quality of life of the TB-infected people.

The actions of the Moldova health authorities are contrary to the Moldova-EU Association Agreement, through which the Government has committed to facilitate the institutional development and strengthening of civil society organisations, create informal and formal networks, it has promised to increase the participation of the civil society in public decision-making process, in particular by establishing an open, transparent and regular dialogue between the public institutions, representative associations and civil society.

These actions indicate that public authorities do not want a strong civil society that would help significantly to achieve progress in various social spheres to respond adequately to the problems that exist. This blow comes after other recent actions (the scandal on the 2%), which further undermines the confidence in and cooperation between the public authorities and NGOs to achieve the objectives of the 2012-2015 Strategy for Civil Society Development in Moldova, approved by the Parliament over a year ago. This continuous attack against the civil society needs to be discussed at the Annual Conference “Cooperation between the Parliament and Civil Society”, which will be held under the auspices of the Moldovan Parliament and the National Council of NGOs in Moldova in April 2014.

We would like to remind that the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is designed to implement the Empowerment of People with Tuberculosis and Communities in Moldova during  2010-2015. The programme aims at strengthening the community involvement and expanding the partnership for the effective TB control and ensuring the efficient management of TB cases through patient support and strengthening of the health system’s capacities.

To achieve these goals, there have been built and strengthened the capacity of the civil society organisations, which along with the medical institutions, are to help to control the TB in Moldova. Of note, in 2010, when this program was launched in Moldova, there was no organisation in the non-governmental sector at the community level that would provide support services to TB patients. Today 9 public associations are operating and providing services to TB patients and their families, including one in the Transnistrian region of Moldova. In 2013 alone, 1,210 patients received such services across the country.

NGO involvement in these measures is not to replace the activities carried out by the medical institutions, but to offer services in the community that are not provided by the Moldovan medical institutions and that are urgently needed to the TB patients and their families, which help to ensure the success of the treatment and improve the quality of life. Such services include psychological support, information and education, counselling to people who have abandoned the treatment or who are at high risk of doing so, the enrolment in treatment of the homeless people (PHOTO), etc.

Civil society organisations are actively involved not only in service provision, but also in decision-making, thus helping to develop the activism and mobilise the affected communities to respond adequately to the problems that exist. The work of civil society organisations has helped to social cohesion, by representing the needs of citizens infected with TB and HIV in the government structures inclusive, thus facilitating their active participation in public administration processes.