Meeting on regional project to strengthen health systems for tuberculosis prevention and care

WHO

On 13 September 2016 the European Office held a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, in conjunction with the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. It brought representatives of 11 eastern European and central Asian countries up to date on health systems strengthening for tuberculosis prevention. Panelists at the session included representatives of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, WHO/Europe and the Center for Health Policies and Studies (PAS).

Attendees of the meeting commended the project approaches towards meeting the common goal of decreasing the burden of tuberculosis and strengthening health systems in the participating countries. Country representatives expressed their high interest and commitment to the project, and agreed that the project helps improve inter-sectoral collaboration. It was noted that the cross-divisional project, involving the Divisions of Health Systems and of Communicable Diseases at the WHO, could serve as a model for other such projects in the future.

The 11 countries involved in the project are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

WHO/Europe will work in close collaboration with all partners and participating countries in implementing the project.

Background

In the WHO European region, 340 000 new tuberculosis cases are identified and 33 000 people die from the disease every year. The region has the highest rates of multi-drug resistance tuberculosis worldwide. It is estimated that only 62% of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis cases are currently detected. Prevention and care for tuberculosis are complex and require coordinated actions from all levels of a country’s health system. With this in view, the TB Regional EECA Project (TB-REP) project was conceived to address the health systems challenges in delivering tuberculosis care.

TB-REP is a three-year project involving multiple partners, including WHO/Europe. It aims to halt the spread of drug resistance to tuberculosis in 11 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) by increasing political commitment and by translating evidence on people-centred models of care on tuberculosis into practice. The project will also support countries in implementing effective systems to deliver TB services.