Report of the 13th Meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on Tuberculosis (TAG-TB) for the WHO European Region (2019)

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This meeting reviewed progress in implementing the recommendations of the 18th Meeting of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis (STAG-TB) and the previous TAG-TB meeting.

TAG-TB congratulated WHO/Europe and European Member States for their effective actions which have resulted in a decreasing trend of TB incidence rates across many countries. It also pointed out concerning issues to address, including the increasing proportion of multidrug and extensively drug-resistant TB (M/XDR-TB), the growing number of TB/HIV coinfection cases and the challenges in reforming health-care systems towards ambulatory TB care.

Recommendations

TB and universal health coverage (UHC): To support countries’ efforts to end TB under UHC, TAG-TB recommended that WHO/Europe provide policy guidance to Member States in framing TB within a UHC perspective.

Sustainability of TB prevention and care: Many countries in the Region need to prepare for declining donor support and ensure the financial sustainability of TB prevention, treatment and care. TAG-TB recommended that eligible countries undertake a series of integrated actions, listed in the report.

Multisectoral accountability framework (MAF): To make the regional MAF operational, a minimum set of new indicators to be collected and reported on needs to be defined. TAG-TB recommended that WHO/Europe work with Member States to finalize the data collection list, develop tools for collecting MAF data and convene a working group to discuss and promote the MAF and its regional adaptation. This group should involve TAG-TB and engage relevant stakeholders. TAG-TB also recommended that WHO/Europe extend the Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020 beyond 2020, and link it with the MAF and its regional adaptation.

Other areas: TAG-TB provided recommendations on TB and M/XDR-TB, latent TB infection and TB prevention, the TB Consilium, TB/hepatitis C coinfection, and childhood TB formulations.