Press Release —Local March 26, 2021

Marking World TB with a Gender Lens in Moldova


While global attention has focussed on COVID-19 for the past year, other diseases have not disappeared. Today is World TB day, and tuberculosis is, like COVID-19, an airborne disease that is often first detected in the respiratory system. It thrives in situations of poverty, where health care is limited or does not reach the most vulnerable populations.
Migrants are particularly vulnerable to TB, especially those in irregular situations, as they often do not know how to access healthcare or are afraid to approach authorities for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.
Many thousands of Moldovans migrate each year, seeking opportunities that are not available at home. Although cases of regular tuberculosis have been declining in recent years, Moldova is one of 30 countries with high burden of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), where one third of new cases are Multi-Drug Resistant, making them difficult and expensive to treat. Migrants make up 15 per cent of all TB cases in the country.
This world TB day IOM has joined with the national TB programme, border police and government ministries to run a week-long information campaign with a special focus on women and their susceptibility to the disease, particularly if they are what is known as "circular migrants"; those who come and go often.
Public information materials are being placed in airports, hospitals, border crossing, and broadcast on TV, radio and via social media. These have been specifically developed to be gender- and migrant-sensitive, and include information, education and communication (IEC) materials of special relevance to women affected by TB, whether as vulnerable people, patients or carers.
IOM’s TB work in Moldova is based on development and distribution of gender and migrant-sensitive information materials, which will include flash mobs at border crossing points, as soon as COVID restrictions permit.
“Our project aims to institute good migration and health by developing effective migrant-centred and evidence-based policies, putting migrants - particularly women migrants and women carers - at the heart of the national TB Programme,” said Lars-Johan Lonnback, IOM’s Chief of Mission. “We also work to empower TB affected migrants and their families to take charge of their futures.”
The two-year project is funded by the IOM Development Fund with a total budget of US$ 300,000 USD. The main beneficiaries of the project are the National TB Programme, health facilities, migrants with TB, patients and survivors, carers, and those using border crossing points.