Mr. Kazuya Harada and Ms. Ryoko Ogawa of the Japanese Embassy and Mr. Tomonori Orita of the Japan International Cooperation Agency are briefed at the DOTS Centre:
As WFP prepares to launch a new programme to help vulnerable Tajiks with Tuberculosis (TB) beat the disease, a delegation from the Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency visited TB centres near the capital Dushanbe to see how food assistance fits into the “value chain” of treatment and cure
The Japanese team on 19 November visited the Vakhdat DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, short course) centre, where TB patients come to take their medicine every day under the supervision of medical staff. DOTS is the cornerstone of modern medical treatment of TB.
The director of the Vakhdat DOTS Center Dr. Alisher Islomov explained to the delegation that if a patient misses a single day, the treatment fails and the patient becomes susceptible to catching more powerful strains of the TB virus that are harder and far more costly to cure.
The delegation included from the Japanese Embassy in Tajikistan First Secretary Mr. Kazuya Harada and Programme Officer Ms. Ryoko Ogawa as well as Project Formulation Advisor of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Mr. Tomonori Orita.
The delegates who donned protective masks and gowns for the visits with TB patients, were told the patients coming to the DOTS centre were given wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt and dried peas every two months as an incentive to continue the treatment to the end of the six-month period required for DOTS.
The delegates then travelled to a nearby warehouse managed by the Red Crescent Society, where a WFP food distribution was scheduled that day for both TB patients and their family members. The families get food assistance as well while their main breadwinner is recovering from TB.
Lastly, the team went to the main TB hospital in Tajikistan where in-patients spend a few months in hospital at the beginning of their road to recovery. Some patients are taken to the hospital straight from the airport upon their arrival from Russia where so many Tajiks live as migrant labourers. When they arrive at the hospital they are at their weakest point. As in-patients, they eat robust, nutritious meals, incorporating WFP food, to gain weight and get stronger.
The Government of Japan is one of WFP's biggest donors to in Tajikistan. Since 2002, Japan has given WFP more than US$14 million to provide assistance in emergency and recovery operations. In 2010, Japan was the fourth-largest donor to WFP globally, making a generous contribution of close to US$214 million to WFP.