In September, PIH Russia opened the doors to a new World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Training in Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis at the Novosibirsk TB Research Institute (NTRI) in Siberia.
The new center will help strengthen the standards of treating of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in 22 eastern territories of the Russia (covering two thirds of the country’s land area), which are particularly burdened by the diseases. The center will also collaborate with TB experts throughout the entire country and around the world by organizing trainings and conduct operational research on best practices for treating and controlling the disease.
WHO collaborating centers are specialized local institutions selected to research and support key international WHO programs. Currently, there are over 800 such centres in over 80 countries working on areas including nursing, nutrition, mental health, and communicable diseases.
The WHO approved a proposal from NTRI to be a center of excellence based on the successes of PIH Russia’s MDR-TB control program in Tomsk, a region in NTRI’s catchment area--the Tomsk program is the most effective of its kind in the Russian Federation, explains PIH Russia Training Coordinator Rostislav Mitrofanov.
“I do believe that [a WHO collaborating Center] is one of the most effective tools to distribute positive tuberculosis control experiences, including that of PIH Tomsk's MDR-TB project,” says Rostislav, “In this particular case, it will also acknowledge and share PIH's approaches among the WHO and TB experts throughout Russia.”
The inauguration of the center was attended by the Russian Ministry of Health, the Russian Ministry of Justice, TB experts from 21 Russian territories, and representativs from Forum Koch-Mechnikov, USAID, PIH, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.