Visit to the Netherlands intensifies collaboration on TB and HIV


During a series of meetings in the Netherlands on 24–25 January 2018, WHO engaged with the ministries of foreign affairs and health, and the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation to review and intensify collaboration on tackling tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in the WHO European Region.

Working together to step up political will to address HIV

One of the meetings with the ministries of foreign affairs and health, organized by WHO/Europe’s Joint Tuberculosis, HIV and Hepatitis Programme (JTH), focused on the ministerial policy dialogue on HIV and related comorbidities in eastern Europe and central Asia. The ministerial policy dialogue is planned to take place back to back with the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 23–27 July 2018.

The policy dialogue will be organized by WHO in collaboration with the Government of the Netherlands. It will bring together the Region’s ministers of health and their senior delegates, as well as other strategic partners such as the European Commission; the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The platform will enable the presentation of countries’ sustainable, innovative and evidence-based responses to HIV and related comorbidities, and the discussion of opportunities to scale these up.

Better working partnership for stronger outcomes

A full-day meeting at the KNCV headquarters in The Hague helped WHO and KNCV to review key strategic and technical directions, and to discuss achievements and challenges in implementing collaborative activities. This discussion also covered new and additional areas of cooperation, such as publication of joint scientific papers and joint country capacity-building activities. One key outcome of the meeting was the consensus reached with regards to the next steps for the partnership.

The partnership between KNCV and WHO is important and has a history of more than 2 decades, including jointly and collaboratively organizing and conducting the Wolfheze Workshops and the National TB Programme (NTP) Managers meeting of the WHO European Region, jointly with the ECDC. 2018 is going to be an important and potentially pivotal year for TB control and care. It is 10 years since the Berlin Declaration and a few months since the Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB was held in Moscow, with the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB planned for September and the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health to be held in October. Close collaboration and alignment of the vision and relevant activities of both organizations will further synergize activities.

Documenting success stories

In order to document an example of good practice in a low incidence country where effective and efficient TB prevention and care is sustained, the JTH visited a number of TB institutions in the Netherlands. The team also captured snapshots of interventions to illustrate the implementation of the Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020.

In particular, the team repeatedly visited some key institutions to engage with both health professionals and patients, and capture their experiences. These institutions included the Municipal Health Service of Rotterdam-Rijnmond (GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond), the Department of Pulmonary Diseases, the laboratory of the Erasmus Medical Center and the Beatrixoord TB sanatorium in Haren.