Ramadan: a time of giving for national Stop TB partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean

16 September 2010 - Last weekend marked the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During this month--when Muslims fast and also share generously of what they have with others--National Stop TB partnerships across the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region organized donations for TB patients and their families in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and Sudan. A similar campaign was organized in 2009.

The coordinating board of Afghanistan's very active national partnership called for generous cash donations and made the first contributions themselves. Sub-national partnerships in Herat and Mazar i Sharif provinces followed suit.

The Egyptian national TB s programme and national stop TB partnership mobilized donations for four chest hospitals and their patients in cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta and Suez. Donations included hospital equipment, food packages, cash support for patients and emergency services for patients in need arriving at the hospitals.

The Iran Stop TB Committee, the oldest national partnership in the Region--teaming up with the Iranian Charity Foundation for Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Imdad Committee of Imam Khomeini--organized Iftar food baskets for deserving TB patients and their families. Iftar is the traditional meal served in the evening, when people break their fast, on each day of Ramadan.

In Jordan the national TB control programme and Jordanian Anti-TB Association were supported by National Stop TB ambassador and actress Rania Ismael. The partners collected and distributed food, supplements, clothes and cash among poor patients and their families. In flood-affected areas of Pakistan, the national TB programme and partners worked with the business community, philanthropists and donors to provide food support to TB patients and their displaced families.

The Sudan national partnership. in association with the Women's Federation, organized Iftar dinners in all states of the country and distributed food baskets among TB patients.