Hungary implementing recommendations from WHO and ECDC joint programme review

Following WHO and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommendations for the National tubercolosis (TB) programme in 2012, the Hungarian Ministry of Human Resources has set up a national forum for partnerships which will meet for the first time on 21 March 2014.

The new national forum will involve all stakeholders in TB control, in addition to the health sector, improving leadership and participatory governance for health, based on the Health 2020, a European policy framework supporting action across government and society for health.

Using the National TB Programme (NTP) as a pilot for health reform has meant new policy initiatives from the Ministry. For example, the performance evaluation of the NTP has been incorporated into the performance assessment exercise, as one of the priorities, for the whole health system.

Furthermore, the Ministry is preparing a new SMART action plan which will scale up TB prevention with a vision to eliminate TB in Hungary. There is another pilot initiative drafted in the new health system strategy of the Ministry that aims to launch a new policy coordinator mechanism to strengthen the policy management of the NTP.

Moreover, the Ministry also changed the mandatory chest X-ray (CXR) screening for the general population to focus more on at-risk groups. At the same time, the national guideline for treatment of TB has been updated and will be published in the coming months.

Although the true impact of the new policies remains to be seen, it is important to note that if the planned measures for the development of the NTP are successfully implemented, then the Hungarian NTP can undoubtedly be looked on as a model and a proxy for reforms in other sectors of the health system within the country.