WHO collaborating centre in Azerbaijan on tuberculosis in prisons

WHO

From left: Dr Rafael Mekhdiyev, Medical Services Major General, Head of the Medical Department, Ministry of Justice, Azerbaijan; Ms Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe; Dr Masoud Dara, Programme Manager, Tuberculosis at WHO/Europe.

The Medical Department of the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan has provided health care to prison inmates for many years, and it is an internationally recognized centre for the control of tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). WHO has had more than two decades of successful collaboration with the Department, which has served as a demonstration site for representatives of many countries in and beyond the European Region.

Background

The Department has made significant progress in combating TB and MDR-TB by working with international organizations. External reviews of Azerbaijan’s national TB programme and yearly visits from the Green Light Committee for the WHO European Region (GLC/Europe) have given the Department’s work international recognition.

In addition, an analysis of epidemiologic data has shown a significant decline of TB in Azerbaijan’s penitentiary system. WHO/Europe acknowledged the Department’s best practice in implementing the Stop TB Strategy in the penitentiary sector.

The Department received the 2013 Correctional Health Care Award from the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) for its innovation and implementation of best practices in the diagnosis, treatment and care of TB and MDR-TB.

Based on these positive experiences, WHO proposed, and both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan accepted, the designation of the Tuberculosis Training Centre, Specialized Treatment Institution, Medical Department of the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan as a WHO collaborating centre.

Terms of reference

With WHO/Europe, the collaborating centre will promote WHO strategies and guidelines through high-quality, evidence-based education on TB control in prisons, provide support to WHO and give technical assistance to national TB programmes worldwide, including programmes in prisons.

More information is available from the collaborating centre (training_centre@prisonhealth.az) and WHO/Europe (tuberculosis@euro.who.int).