The Moldova STREAM CAB was established in December 2016, with support from the STREAM clinical trial. The CAB Coordinators are Pavel and Oxana Rucsineanu, both of whom have survived drug-resistant TB (extensively drug resistant TB and MDR-TB, respectively).
Oxana and Pavel also head the Moldova National Association of Tuberculosis Patients or “SMIT”, a civil society organization focused on providing support to people affected by tuberculosis in Moldova. The organization guides and promotes many of the TB-related activities in the country and the discussion of TB public policies nationally and regionally.
The other members of the Moldova CAB come from civil society organizations (CSOs) working throughout Moldova, including TDV (located in the city of Balti), Pas cu Pas (located in Cahul), Viitorul Sanatos (located in Tiraspol), Liga PTH (located in Chisinau), Programe Medico-Sociale (located in Tiraspol), Initiativa Positiva (located in Chisinau). These organizations support people affected by TB and HIV, and other vulnerable populations, including sex workers, people who use intravenous drugs, the LGBT community, and the homeless. The variety of CSOs represented on the Moldovan CAB is a significant strength, which enables the CAB to reach those most affected by TB and to contribute to TB policy-making.
STREAM represents a significant opportunity to engage community stakeholders in TB and TB research. The CAB’s regular interactions with the STREAM research team have helped it become a strong collaborator for STREAM and other TB research in the country, as well as for raising awareness of TB and TB research in the community. In the last quarter, the CAB hosted a workshop aimed at improving research literacy and knowledge of TB care among Moldovan civil society and community representatives. The CAB also visited patients in a TB hospital to talk with them and share personal experiences of surviving TB. This gave the patients hope, and also reminded the CAB members why they are so committed to their work.
The Moldova CAB also has an international agenda aimed at fostering cross-site learning. It recently formed the Eastern Europe – Central Asia (EECA) regional CAB network, whose other members include the Georgia and Mongolia STREAM CABs. The goal of this initiative is to amplify and strengthen regional interaction between STREAM CABs, and increase capacities of CAB members by exchanging experiences by web conference. In February, the Moldova CAB hosted the first EECA STREAM CAB webinar. As a result, a list of training priorities based on each CAB’s areas of interest was developed to better equip CAB members for their role as partners in TB research. The Moldova CAB looks forward to expanding this network to include all STREAM CABs, and the first all-CAB webinar organized by the Moldova CAB under this initiative will be held in June.