Regional committee on TB expands to cover HIV and viral hepatitis

WHO/S. Hasanova

In 2019, the scope of the Regional Collaborating Committee on Tuberculosis Control and Care (RCC-TB) was expanded to include HIV and viral hepatitis. The RCC-TB, originally focused exclusively on TB, was established by WHO/Europe in 2012.

The new Regional Collaborating Committee on the Accelerated Response to Tuberculosis, HIV and Viral Hepatitis (RCC-THV) is an inclusive platform hosted by WHO/Europe to exchange information and strengthen the engagement of partners in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of TB, HIV and viral hepatitis.

In particular, it aims to further enhance the involvement of civil society organizations and non-state actors in the prevention and care of the 3 diseases in the WHO European Region.

At its first meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 11 April 2019, the RCC-THV focused on operational aspects of the implementation of the 3 disease-specific regional action plans and of the United Nations Common Position on Ending HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis through Intersectoral Collaboration.

It agreed on specific areas to support, including strengthening health systems to make health services more people-centred and to improve the quality and outcome of care, and contributing to WHO reviews of national programmes on TB, HIV and viral hepatitis with the participation of civil society and affected communities.

In addition, the RCC-THV will further support countries transitioning to domestic financing of national disease-specific programmes. It aims to ensure the transparency and sustainability of the process through active involvement in and contribution to the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of transition plans.

To promote and facilitate synergistic collaboration among TB, HIV and viral hepatitis communities, partners and initiatives – at the regional and especially the country level – the RCC-THV also agreed to include in its network more national representatives of communities for the 3 diseases.

3 diseases, 1 integrated response

TB, HIV and viral hepatitis are influenced by a common range of social, economic and environmental determinants, and affect population groups that are often overlapping. To address these epidemics and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries need to adopt an integrated approach and scale up their response.

The RCC-THV’s ultimate objective is to contribute to the regional achievement of SDG 3.3 by working to end the epidemics of HIV and TB by 2030, by combatting hepatitis and by ensuring universal health coverage for the 3 diseases.

WHO/Europe promotes and supports a joint response to the 3 diseases through cross-cutting initiatives such as the RCC-THV, the European Laboratory Initiative, a dedicated workstream of the European Issue-based Coalition on Health, and others.

The United Nations Common Position on Ending HIV, TB and Viral Hepatitis through Intersectoral Collaboration, signed in 2018 by 14 United Nations agencies, recognized the importance of multipartner commitment to a joint response, along with the need for further integration.