Late last year, Mongolia held a national meeting on tuberculosis (TB): Multilateral cooperation for the elimination of tuberculosis in the context of sustainable development in Mongolia. Attended by a broad range of public health stakeholders, this was the first high-level meeting on the elimination of TB held during the administration of Prime Minister, Z. Khurelsukh.

During the opening ceremony, STREAM Community Advisory Board (CAB) coordinator Zolzaya Amarjargal discussed her experience of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and shared her journey to good health as a participant of the STREAM trial. Her speech was significant because it marked the first time a former MDR-TB patient had the opportunity to share her experience at a meeting like this in Mongolia. Following her presentation, Zolzaya was congratulated by the Mongolian Minister of Health, Mrs. Sarangerel D.

“Listening to the first-hand experience of a TB survivor was a very emotional moment for the meeting’s 250 attendees. Zolzaya caught TB when she was working as a nurse and her journey to overcome the disease was difficult. She was very brave to tell her story to so many people, in a country where TB is still very much stigmatized, even within the medical profession,” explained Dr. Bazra Tsogt, STREAM Site Coordinator, Mongolia.

Dr. Tsogt and Zolzaya went on to participate in a panel discussion, during which key stakeholders, including representatives of the Human Rights Committee of Mongolia, City Health Department and other NGOs, discussed the delivery of patient-centered care and its challenges. The ethical issues surrounding TB patients who refuse treatment were also discussed from a human rights perspective.

NGOs in Mongolia play a crucial role in delivering daily TB treatments to patients, conducting contact investigations and offering psychosocial support to affected families and patients. STREAM is working to support this movement, as it aims to generate evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of shorter, more tolerable MDR-TB regimens, while also improving local capacity to conduct clinical trials.

Click here to read more about the STREAM trial in Mongolia.