Collaboration cemented between WHO/Europe and Global Fund

Tofik Babayev

Today, on the first day of the sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, WHO/Europe and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria exchanged letters and initiated a joint operational plan for 2011/2012.

“In view of the current complex health challenges the European Region is facing, cooperation between WHO/Europe and the Global Fund needs to be more strategic. We are committed to strengthening our relations and continuing to assist countries in accessing grants and using resources in the best possible way,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

The joint operational plan for 2011/2012 has three main objectives, to:

  • develop regular collaborative mechanisms between the Global Fund, WHO/Europe and WHO country offices;
  • support the achievement of improved health results at country level through strengthened technical support, oversight and effective and efficient implementation of disease programmes supported by the Global Fund; and
  • optimize the impact of Global Fund financing on the health-related Millennium Development Goals, through sound technical cooperation and the integration of a health-systems-strengthening approach in existing and future programmes at country level.

On Sunday, ministers from high-burden tuberculosis countries, experts from WHO/Europe and Michel D. Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, met to discuss the achievements and challenges in the governance, financing and implementation of drug-resistant tuberculosis prevention and treatment. Despite the challenges, ministers explained that they have introduced national programmes to address multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and recognize the importance of free diagnosis and treatment that targets high-risk groups, such as intravenous drug users, homeless people, prisoners, sex workers, those with HIV/AIDS, and in some cases migrants.

Action plans for tackling both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the 53 countries of the WHO European Region will be discussed later this week at the sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, in Baku, Azerbaijan.