The community advisory board (CAB) at the National Centre for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia was established in December 2015, with support from the STREAM trial. It was the first CAB ever established in Mongolia. Members of the CAB include STREAM trial staff, Bazarragchaa Tsogt and Ganzorig Munkhjargal, health care workers, and former patients. Many CAB members are also part of the Mongolian TB Coalition. In addition to offering a vehicle for raising community awareness of tuberculosis (TB) and influencing national TB policy, the CAB offers members an opportunity to work with the STREAM global CAB network and to participate in cross-site learning.

STREAM Study Coordinator, Bazarragchaa Tsogt (right), speaking on the importance of the STREAM trial

All STREAM CAB members are committed to fighting TB on behalf of those who cannot. In Ulaanbaatar, TB patients are often stigmatized. But the STREAM trial and the CAB’s community outreach activities are helping to reduce TB-related stigma, and STREAM patients have reported the STREAM CAB provides a safe space where their voices can be heard. Many patients in Mongolia turn to the CAB to share their experiences as former patients and to express their concerns to decision-makers.

The Mongolia CAB is well-connected with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and governmental and non-governmental organizations. Those connections enable the CAB to ensure key stakeholders receive regular updates about the STREAM trial. In November of last year, the CAB was honored to meet Mongolia’s Minister of Health, Sarangerel Davaajantsan, at the NCCD in Ulaanbaatar. Mrs. Sarangerel acknowledged the important, high-quality evidence generated by the STREAM study and its impact on the evolution of national and global TB policy. The Minister also applauded STREAM’s community engagement program for the critical role it has played in building trust among key stakeholders involved in TB management for the country. To read more, please click here.

The Minister also agreed to provide funding for the CAB to fight TB stigma in the workplace. With the Minister’s support, the STREAM CAB is in the process of launching the “STOP Stigma in Workplace” social media campaign to combat workplace stigma against tuberculosis. The campaign will target different audiences across four social media platforms popular in Mongolia; Facebook for the general audience; Instagram for younger populations; Twitter for politicians, CEOs, and decision makers; and LinkedIn for human resource managers, CEOs, and companies.

In the upcoming year, the Mongolia CAB will continue to focus on strengthening its presence and to fight for better diagnosis and treatment of TB. The CAB plans to hold several meetings encouraging non-governmental organizations to discuss the necessity and importance of community engagement as well as the sustainability of the CAB. We look forward to seeing the Mongolia CAB’s initiatives for 2020 and its lasting impact beyond STREAM.