Eastern Mediterranean Workshop
EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN ADVOCACY, COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MOBILIZATION (ACSM) PLANNING WORKSHOP FOR TUBERCULOSIS CONTROL
Amman, Jordan, 13-17 April 2008
The Stop TB Partnership Secretariat and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office organized the Region's first workshop on advocacy, communication and social mobilization planning for tuberculosis control.
The Workshop is the second in a series planned for all WHO Regions. The first one was held in Thailand on August, 2007. The 5-day workshop, which followed a curriculum developed by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), was attended by TB control experts, ACSM and Global Fund focal points from 6 countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Sudan (N).
The overall purpose of the workshop was to provide participants with the tools and skills they need to plan, implement, and evaluate ACSM activities to support effective TB control and the implementation of their Global Fund grants.
The agenda for the 5-day workshop was intensive and highly participatory, with all participants engaging in small group work, plenary discussions and other activities which encouraged participants to share their knowledge and experiences with each other.
The contents and main objectives of the workshop are outlined below.
- Understanding ACSM: Participants shared understanding of advocacy, communications and social mobilization through real-life examples from their respective countries.
- ACSM in depth: Participants discussed the latest facts, figures, and developments on TB and TB/HIV. They also shared and compared country-level ACSM plans, as well as determined critical next steps.
- Opportunities and barriers: Working in groups, participants identified factors that influence ACSM activities in-country and looked into opportunities for accelerating ACSM work. They also explored the meaning of community ownership as well as the importance of evidence-based ACSM programming.
- ACSM strategic planning: Participants developed and/or refined a practical list of next steps for integrating ACSM interventions into their national TB control plans. Participants also reviewed the tools and processes for developing a strategic advocacy plan.
- Going forward: On the last day of the workshop, participants explored the importance of effective monitoring and evaluation of ACSM interventions. They also discussed ways to identify areas where technical assistance is needed, and to develop terms of reference to ask for such assistance. Participants also shared ideas for staying in touch as a regional network of ACSM practitioners.
The main outcome of the workshop was better understanding of ACSM as a technical area and the need to have a strategic approach to ACSM planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. All countries identified bottlenecks to the implementation of their Global Fund grants, and have left with specific action plans, which include seeking technical assistance to move forward with various ACSM components of the Global Fund grants.