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TBEC Participation in the EU HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum Meeting

TBEC Participation in the EU HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum Meeting

The biannual face-to-face meeting of the EU HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum (CSF) took place on 17-18 June in Luxembourg. The forum has been established by the European Commission to facilitate the participation of European NGOs in policy development and implementation, as well as in information exchange activities. Initially established as a forum for HIV/AIDS civil society, in 2017 the EU Civil Society Forum was extended to include hepatitis and tuberculosis NGOs, which allowed TBEC to formally become a CSF member. During the meeting, CSF members, including TBEC, provided updates on their work and discussed upcoming opportunities and challenges. TBEC also facilitated several sessions focused on political advocacy towards the EU. Since the last meeting in November 2018, the EU Civil Society Forum has been involved in a variety of advocacy activities. The Advocacy and Policy Working Group, coordinated by TBEC Board member Marine Ejuryan, has particularly focused its activities on ensuring that health is prioritised in the next EU long-term budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), as well as making sure that health stays high on the agenda of the new EU Commission and Parliament after the EU elections in May. During the meeting, CSF members agreed More…

‘WOLFHEZE’: What is it? What happened?

‘WOLFHEZE’: What is it? What happened?

Once every two years in May, many leading lights of TB care in the WHO Europe Region talk of going off to ‘Wolfheze’. Well, if you explore a detailed map of the Netherlands, you will find that Wolfheze itself is a tiny village in the woods on the Eastern side of the country. It is where the very first of a continuing series of meetings took place about 25 years ago. The name has stuck but the meetings since have mostly taken place in or near The Hague; this year in Scheveningen, the city’s seaside resort and suburb. The organisers are a triumvirate of KNCV, ECDC, and WHO Europe plus, on the planning committees, representatives of other parties including TBEC. The hard core of the 200 or so participants are NTP Managers but with many other interested partners. Following pressure in past years, it is now accepted that there have to be plenty of civil society people there, not just present but being among the many speakers, session co-ordinators, and reporters. In practice because of its small size, it is a relatively informal gathering of people from both low and high burden countries of the Region, and a great opportunity More…

TBEC attends 13th meeting of the Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis (TAG-TB) for the WHO European Region

TBEC attends 13th meeting of the Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis (TAG-TB) for the WHO European Region

On April 9–10, the Co-Chair of TBEC Board and the TBEC Advocacy and Policy Manager attended the 13th Meeting of the European Technical Advisory Group on Tuberculosis (TAG-TB). Throughout two days, TAG-TB members discussed: the latest TB data: 3.6 million people with TB are still not diagnosed; need to strengthen government officials’ capacity to fight TB; importance of working with key groups and especially with migrants; it was announced that at the end of 2019, new recommendations for MDR-TB treatment will be issued; the need for advocacy for tests to define resistance to the 2nd line of drugs, especially to new ones such as Bedaquiline and Delamanid, etc; the need to develop recommendations for the treatment of latent TB, because there are goals after United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis (UN HLM on TB) that will not be achievable if there are no recommendations; the need for advocacy for more UN HLMs that will be related to specific health diseases (such as TB, HIV, etc), as it was announced that the UN HLM on TB was the last meeting dedicated to a specific disease. Further meetings will be confined to the general topic of public health. Among other subjects, a specific More…

Call for Tenders n°Chafea/2016/Health/34, concerning the study of the socio-economic impacts of potential HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STIs and TB

Call for Tenders n°Chafea/2016/Health/34, concerning the study of the socio-economic impacts of potential HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STIs and TB

Dear colleagues, The new version of the call for tender n°Chafea/2016/Health/34, concerning the study of the socio-economic impacts of potential HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmissible infections and tuberculosis was published. The main purpose of this contract is to carry out a study and produce a report in order to collect evidence and provide an assessment of the socio-economic impact of existing and future EU-level policy initiatives on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmissible infections (STI) and tuberculosis. Please promote to the your networks partners, in particular to those working in burden of diseases and cost analysis. Deadline: 18 September 2017 To view the details please click here. Thanks for your active collaboration. This blog is the product of an activity that has received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020). The content of this blog represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information More…

European Parliament approve EU Budget and R&D Programme for 2014-2020

European Parliament approve EU Budget and R&D Programme for 2014-2020

After months of ongoing negotiations, the European Parliament formally approved two central pieces of legislation for the European Union this week. Deals were reached both on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF – or the EU Budget) and for Horizon 2020 (the EU’s programme for research and innovation). The MFF for 2014-2020 totals about €960 billion, which, in real terms, is €34 billion less than compared to the previous financial period (2007-2013). Of particular concern for us is the news that ‘Heading 4’ – this is the category under which development spending falls – has experienced an overall cut of 16% compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal. The EU instrument for development assistance – the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) was reduced to €17.36 billion. Despite these overall cuts for 2014-2020, for the 2014 budget the European Parliament did approve an increase for the DCI. Moreover, they made sure that at least 20% of appropriations of the DCI should be used for basic social services and that there must be the creation of a separate budget line for Human Development. This will mention sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other poverty related diseases. The Horizon 2020 programme which finances More…

MEPs unhappy with EU budget deal

MEPs unhappy with EU budget deal

As we mentioned in our blogpost on Wednesday, the leaders of the 27 member states finally reached an agreement on the next 7 years of funding for the EU budget. While President Van Rompuy concluded the meeting stating that the final budget is both balanced and growth-oriented, MEPs disagree. One area for particular concern is the impact that the agreement will have on research and innovation and, in particular, Horizon 2020. Initially, the Commission had proposed  €80 billion but this has now been slashed to  €70.96 billion. Research and innovation is crucial when it comes to tackling TB and other poverty-related and neglected diseases which urgently need improved treatment and medicines in order to save millions of lives each year. Parliamentarians in the EU are now vowing to block any budget cuts at all for research and innovation, something that will not only helps save lives in the future but that is also seen to be important for economic growth. For many, the real negotiations for the EU budget start now. You can read more on this story by clicking here.  

European Union leaders reach deal on EU budget

European Union leaders reach deal on EU budget

Last week 27 EU heads of state met in Brussels to finally agree a deal on the next 7 years of spending in the Multi-Annual Financial Framework – otherwise known as the EU Budget. The agreement is notable for being the first time that total funding is lower than in the previous period, with real term cuts of around 3.7%. Funding for development aid, which we have often mentioned in this blog as a great success story of previous EU budgets, has been frozen. While this may seem good news, many are disappointed with the outcome. Significantly, it is believed, by organisations such as ONE, that ‘EU leaders missed their opportunity to take Europe a big step closer to its promise of spending 0.7 percent of income on smart aid’. The Overseas Development Institute has also analysed the impact of the budget on the 0.7 percent target. They note that by deciding to effectively freeze the aid budget they remain further than ever from honouring their commitment to the world’s poorest people. You can read their analysis in more detail here. Despite these less-than-hopeful messages, some positives can be taken from the agreement reached last week. As ONE suggest, the fact that their wasn’t More…

European Parliament adopts Horizon 2020 package with clear language on Global Health R&D

European Parliament adopts Horizon 2020 package with clear language on Global Health R&D

On November 28th, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee adopted its negotiating mandate on the Horizon 2020 Package (the proposed EU Research and Innovation Programme for the years 2014-2020). The programme brings together all existing Union research and innovation funding, which is currently estimated at €87 billion. Building on the Commission’s original proposal, committee members voted to strengthen language on Poverty-Related and Neglected Diseases (PRNDs). Most notably, the committee recommended the inclusion of PRNDs and research and development capacity to address this considerable disease burden as an integral part of the Societal Challenge, “Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing”. The committee’s decision received broad support across all political groups and will provide the basis for subsequent negotiations between the Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the final policy framework for Horizon 2020. Next steps: Discussions continue between the European Parliament and the European Council (Member States) with a view to agreeing a final package for Horizon 2020 and of course for the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF). In the European Parliament the next step is the Plenary vote, but the date for this has not yet been set and depends on how informal negotiations advance.

EP Working Group leads field visit in Suriname

EP Working Group leads field visit in Suriname

The 24th session of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) and EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly took place this year in Paramaribo, Suriname from the 27th to 29th November. The Secretariat of the European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases was present and hosted an information stand with reports and leaflets on global health for all parliamentarians. This year, the EP Working Group partnered with a local NGO called the Medische Zending (Medical Mission). The Medical Mission has set up a very interesting human resources system in Suriname that has been instrumental in the near eradication of malaria in the past seven years. We secured a spot during the meeting of the Social Affairs Committee to hear Dr Edward van Eer, the Director of Medische Zending, speak about challenges and innovative solutions to the human resources for health crisis in Suriname. Suriname, like most other ACP countries, suffers from a shortage of doctors. Suriname represents an excellent case study for how to respond to the human resources shortage, in particular Medical Mission’s model which they have implemented to deliver care to remote areas. 500,000 people live in Suriname, half of whom live in Paramaribo, the More…

European Parliament discusses rise of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe

European Parliament discusses rise of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe

The following post is brought to you by Steve Lewis, the Global Health Advocacy Manager at RESULTS UK, who last week attended a hearing in European Parliament on ‘Funding crisis at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and its impact on EU countries most affected by multi-drug resistant TB, in particular Romania’: Last week I was at a discussion in Parliament in Brussels during which European MEPs discussed the disturbing rise in TB in Eastern Europe. One of the worst hit countries is Romania where Romanian MEP Claudiu Tănăsescu told me, “When I used to work as a GP in Romania we believed that TB had been virtually eliminated. But this is not the case.” Information from various countries has been published recently in our report ‘Bridging the Gap – why the EU must address the funding crisis at the Global Fund to tackle HIV and TB epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia’. The report includes case studies that demonstrate that without the resources to aggressively tackle these two diseases, the region risks undermining the progress made to date. Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was forced to cancel its last funding More…

Budget cuts proposed for EU development aid

Budget cuts proposed for EU development aid

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, has this week announced proposals for deep cuts to planned development aid spending. Ahead of a special EU budget summit next week Van Rompuy has proposed significant cuts to the European Commission’s 2014-2020 budget blueprint that pose a threat to the prospects of millions of lives throughout the developing world. The proposed cuts include 11% off the European Development Fund along with 9% off external spending, under ‘Heading 4’ of the main budget.  ONE, a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organisation fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, notes how these reductions are higher in relative terms than all other areas of the EU budget. These cuts are significant when one considers that, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and ONE, EU aid would more than pay for itself by 2020. This cost-effectiveness of EU aid is important to note when considering the impact that it has had in the past decade. Since 2004, more than 9 million pupils throughout the developing world have been enrolled in primary education; EU aid has given 32 million people access to clean drinking water and provided More…

European Commission adopts new strategy to support civil society

European Commission adopts new strategy to support civil society

Yesterday we posted a blog highlighting the importance of civil society organisations in the fight against tuberculosis. In light of this we wholeheartedly welcome news that the European Commission (EC) is to adopt a new strategy to support civil society in partner countries. A new Communication produced by the EC, ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with Civil Society in external relations’, acknowledges how important civil society is both with regards to promoting democracy and also in enhancing equitable development. As the Communication says: The EC acknowledges the vital work of CSOs in partner countries in giving marginalised groups a voice and access to services as well as empowering them to take part in the political processes which affect them We made clear  in yesterday’s blog how significant Speranta Terrei had been in helping patients access services to help them combat TB, both medically and psychologically, and so it is fantastic to hear the EC using this language in it’s Communication. The Communication includes several key announcements as to how it will serve to strengthen engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs) in the future. Importantly, it suggests that the EU will take stronger action in countries that fail More…

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