All programmes and activities of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society (AzRC) are aligned with and contribute to the IFRC`s Strategy 2020 aiming to improve the lives and to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable people.
In view of the achievements of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent on the road of structural and professional development, the IFRC and the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society have agreed that the local office of the IFRC is closed with effect from 1 January 2014. From that day, the overall coordination of the humanitarian assistance and the capacity-building support to the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society is done under the supervision of the Head of Country Cluster of the Europe Zone Office in accordance with the approved plans and budgets.
During the reporting period two projects were supported by donors via the IFRC, and several projects were implemented bilaterally. The IFRC funding was allocated for two components, namely non-remunerated blood donor recruitment and tuberculosis prevention and treatment. The other two components were implemented either in integration with similar AzRC projects or on a small scale from the AzRC`s own funds.
In the Health and Care Programme the Azeri National Society reached people through training sessions, promotion of healthy life style and awareness raising, harm reduction, blood donors’ recruitment campaigns, and visits to people living with Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB).
It should be underlined that the funding for tuberculosis prevention and treatment and the non-remunerated blood donor recruitment (Club-25 Initiative) components was allocated from October-November 2012. The implementation of the tuberculosis component will be continued financially till the end of October 2014, without a break. The financial implementation of the non-remunerated blood donor recruitment component (Club-25 Initiative) was finalized at the end of January 2013. From February 2013, the AzRC carried out activities from its own funds. Later on, the activities were resumed for the next period from September 2013 till the end of the year and it is assumed that in 2014, the financial support might be renewed as well.
The non-remunerated blood donor recruitment component is carried out to promote voluntary blood donation initiatives, attract blood donors and support the increase of blood component reserves within the country. The existing funding allowed, both due to donor support and the AzRC`s own funds, to carry out a couple of trainings among the newly selected volunteers, update the knowledge of the already involved local branch staff and volunteers in Baku and regions, organize blood donor recruitment campaigns devoted to the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the National Society, the World Haemophilia and Talassemia Days and World Blood Donor Day and distribute some 2,000 leaflets. The members of “Clubs 25” established in educational institutions of Baku and Sumgayit cities, Sabirabad, Ismayilli, Qusar, Lankaran and Mingachevir regions actively supported the organization of the mentioned events, carried out sessions on healthy lifestyle and promoted the idea of becoming blood donors, distributed brochures among staff and volunteers, the general public, and local communities.
The main purpose of the AzRC's TB prevention and treatment project is to improve adherence to treatment regimens by the most vulnerable continuation-phase multidrug resistant MDR-TB patients, provide home-based, direct observation of treatment (DOTS+) and underpin this process with psychological, social and educational support for patients and their families. The implementation of the project went according to the developed work plan and budget with relevant updates based on requirements. The nurses went on with their regular six-day-per-week visits to patients and provided the necessary support. Most patients expressed their willingness to continue treatment after clearly recognising the difficulties in their health condition and the treatment process (secondary effects). They appreciated the AzRC nurses for their visits controlling the treatment. Several patients in the stage of a successful completion of the treatment agreed to participate in the establishment of a Civil Union of Former TB patients to organize awareness raising anti-TB campaigns, health promotion activities, share their stories about treatment and further recovery. Even though it had not been budgeted, the AzRC, by its own initiative and from the local branches` own funds, provided patients with food parcels on a quarterly basis.
Due to the absence of IFRC-driven financial support, the other two components, namely Community–Based First Aid and Harm Reduction were carried out from the National Society`s own funds, via ICRC and Austrian Red Cross financed projects and with the active participation of volunteers.