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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…

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…

TBEC's first-ever workshop in the Balkan region

TBEC’s first-ever workshop in the Balkan region

Although TBEC covers all 53 WHO Europe region countries, it is no secret that the majority of the TBEC’s advocacy and capacity building activities are focused on 18 high priority countries in the region, specifically, the Baltic states, Romania, Bulgaria and Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. So much so that it was not particularly surprising that as part of the TBEC member skills analysis and annual membership surveys, TBEC received numerous invitations from its few members in the region to visit and engage pro-actively in TB care in the Balkan countries. Thus, when an opportunity to organise a joint capacity building workshop with the European Respiratory Society (ERS) presented itself, TBEC was keen to take a chance and use it for a slightly “experimental” regional workshop in Zagreb, Croatia.  As often happens, the “experiment” paid off tenfold, and on 16-17 April, TBEC together with ERS successfully held the first-ever regional workshop in the region on “Enhancing TB advocacy, people-centred care and collaboration in TB care between civil society organisations and healthcare professionals across the Balkan states”. For TBEC, it was a workshop with a lot of “First-Evers”: 1) the first time TBEC had ever partnered with ERS to organize More…

WHO Europe Regional Collaborating Committee (RCC-THV) enlarged its mandate to cover HIV and viral hepatitis

WHO Europe Regional Collaborating Committee (RCC-THV) enlarged its mandate to cover HIV and viral hepatitis

On 11th of April, several TBEC Board and Secretariat members attended the 7th meeting of the Regional Collaborating Committee (RCC-THV), which recently enlarged its mandate to cover not only the Accelerated Response to Tuberculosis, but also to HIV and viral hepatitis. TBEC joined a group of international and regional civil society networks such as STOP TB Partnership, Global TB Caucus, TBPeople and the WHO Europe RCC-THV Secretariat and country officers. The meeting covered a variety of issues, starting from presentations on the implementation of regional action plans for HIV and TB, to WHO Europe engagement and contribution towards accountability framework post UN High-Level Meeting on TB to potential activities the RCC-THV could take on to support those WHO Europe region countries, currently transitioning from the Global Fund support to national funding. TBEC Board and Secretariat members not only actively engaged in discussions and group work, but also presented specific issues such as “Progress of the Review of Psycho-social support practices in the Region” by TBEC Board members, Safar Naimov and Oxana Ruscineanu, and “Access to Child TB drugs in the WHO region” by TBEC Secretariat. If you would be interested in more information on either of the two topics, please More…

Kyrgyzstan Conducts "Gender and Legal Assessment in TB"

Kyrgyzstan Conducts “Gender and Legal Assessment in TB”

Kyrgyzstan is conducting “Gender and Legal Assessment in TB” with the support of Stop TB Partnership and the participation of international experts Nonna Turusbekova and Samanta Sokolowski. This kind of TB assessment is carried out for the first time. On the 2nd of December 2015, a round-table was held in Bishkek on the topic “Gender-based and Legal Assessment in Tuberculosis”. The Kyrgyz TB Coalition organized the event, which was attended by representatives of ministries, government services, and international and local civil society organizations. “Gender assessment consists of a series of steps aimed at assessing how differentiated the approach of TB programs is towards men, women, boys and girls, whereas legal assessment addresses issues of rights of Kyrgyz citizens, in general, and of key TB affected populations, in particular”, – explain international experts. As a result of discussions held on the 26th of January 2016, recommendations were made to amend the Law on Protection of Population from TB, currently under review by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic. One of the suggested amendments is to ‘provide for interaction with civil society in the field of gender and other rights of persons affected by tuberculosis’. These recommendations, together with a letter of More…

HIV/TB Patients in Eastern Europe at higher risk of death than in Western Europe

HIV/TB Patients in Eastern Europe at higher risk of death than in Western Europe

The Lancet HIV Journal published a recent research study conducted by Daria Podlekareva and her colleagues that shows an alarming situation for people living with HIV and diagnosed with tuberculosis in Eastern Europe. They have a risk of death nearly four-times higher than patients from Western Europe and Latin America.   As mentioned in the study the reasons for the high mortality rate in Eastern Europe are complex and multifactorial. However, an urgent action is needed to improve tuberculosis care for patients living with HIV in this region. For full text and more details, please click here: Tuberculosis-related mortality in people living with HIV in Europe and Latin America: an international cohort study 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…

GOOD NEWS from KAZAKHSTAN:  Tuberculosis on decrease in the last 10 years

GOOD NEWS from KAZAKHSTAN: Tuberculosis on decrease in the last 10 years

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the country made a good progress in the tuberculosis incidence and mortality. Over the last 10 years the incidence of TB in Kazakhstan decreased by 2.2 times and the mortality rate decreased by 5 times. In 2015, the incidence decreased by 11.9% and amounted to 58.5 per 100 thousand population (in 2014 – 66.4), the mortality rate decreased by 22.4% and amounted to 3.8 per 100 thousand population (in 2014 – 4.9) (Health Ministry) The effective treatment of newly diagnosed patients with sensitive tuberculosis in 2015 improved and reached 87.6% compared to 86.4% in 2014 (WHO standard – 85%). “Today, all regions of the country are provided with modern equipment for diagnosis of tuberculosis, including its drug-resistant forms. The country has sufficient level of necessary medicines, “the ministry informed. 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 More…

TB Europe Coalition involved in developing new TB Action Plan for Europe 2016-2020

TB Europe Coalition involved in developing new TB Action Plan for Europe 2016-2020

On 3rd October 2014, the TB Europe Coalition was invited by WHO Europe to represent civil society working on tuberculosis across the European region at the first meeting of the Advisory Committee for the development of the “Tuberculosis Action Plan for the WHO European Region, 2016-2020”.   “The Consolidated Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Multidrug and Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in the WHO European Region, 2011-2015” commonly known as MAP, was endorsed by the 61st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 15 September 2011. The Plan considers a number of activities in seven areas of intervention to be undertaken by Member States, with assistance of the WHO Regional Office and Partners. After four years of implementation, significant progresses can be reported in the prevention and control of multidrug resistant (MDR) and extensively drug resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) in the Region, but challenges exists particularly in achieving treatment success.   Coming closer to its last year of implementation and with endorsement of the Post 2015 Global TB Strategy by the 67th World Health Assembly, it was time to re-think how Member States, WHO and partners should move forward together in preventing and controlling TB and More…

TBEC participates in the WHO National TB Programme Review for Armenia

TBEC participates in the WHO National TB Programme Review for Armenia

Recently, Oxana Rucsineanu, a member of the TB Europe Coalition Steering Committee, was invited to take part in the WHO Review of the National TB Programme for TB Control in Armenia. Oxana’s invite follows calls from civil society organisations towards the WHO to include a civil society or key affected voice in these NTP reviews. With her extensive experience both of TB itself and of the need to include the civil society voice in TB programmes, Oxana was well placed to take part in this visit to Armenia. Here Oxana shares some of her findings and recommendations from the visit. Findings It is promising to see that recently one TB patient group, led by an MDR-TB survivor, has been formed in Armenia. This is considered a big step in making the voices of people affected by TB heard and their needs better articulated. On a similar note, the involvement of ex-patients in peer to peer education started in June 2014. There are several NGOs active in TB control in Armenia, though the extent to which they are working on the issue is certainly varied. These include: The Armenian Red Cross Society (ACRS), MSF, Mission East Armenia, Yerevan Home Care, Foundation for More…

TBEC participates in WHO National TB Programme Review to Kyrgyzstan

TBEC participates in WHO National TB Programme Review to Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is among the 27 high burden multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) countries in the world and also among the WHO European Region 18 TB High Priority Countries. Upon request by the Minister of Health of Kyrgyzstan and as instructed by the Director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the WHO Regional Office for Europe, TB and M/XDR-TB Programme including the WHO Country Office in collaboration with the National TB Control Programme (NTP) conducted a midterm programme review of TB prevention, control and care activities during the 30 June-5 July 2014 period. Nonna Turusbekova, a temporary adviser to WHO, who is also a member of TBEC steering committee, assessed the engagement of civil society in TB response. Since the previous Programme Review conducted in 2010, Kyrgyzstan has made a significant progress in following and addressing its main recommendations including areas such as MDR-TB, infection control and childhood TB. Political commitment shown by recent and updated national policy documents, such as Den Sooluk (State Health Program), stresses the importance of TB prevention and control in the country context. Diagnosis and treatment of TB and MDR-TB are according to WHO recommendations including restructuring of TB services with prioritizing ambulatory treatment and care. Uninterrupted More…

Tuberculosis: 'We are watching a ticking timebomb'

Tuberculosis: ‘We are watching a ticking timebomb’

Today saw the launch of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report 2013 whichmade it clear that there is not nearly enough being done to combat a disease that continues to place a terrible burden upon so many in all corners of the world. The report shows that TB deaths have only decreased from 1.4 million in 2011 to 1.3 million in 2012, a decrease of just 2%. Worryingly, these aren’t the most striking figures to emerge from the report. It shows that about three million people each year aren’t being diagnosed and getting the treatment they need. In addition, the report asserts that multidrug-resistant TB must be considered a public health crisis. The WHO estimate that 450,00 people fell ill with MDR-TB in 2012 alone. This strain is not only more costly to treat but treatment of the strains can burden individuals with often intolerable side-effects. That is if you’re lucky enough to actually receive the treatment. At least 16,000 MDR-TB cases reported to WHO in 2012 were not put on treatment and only 48% of those were enrolled on treatment were cured at the end of the two year period. Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop More…

Civil Society: an important voice at Wolfheze Conference

Civil Society: an important voice at Wolfheze Conference

In our post yesterday we noted that, in comparison to previous years, this year’s Wolfheze Conference had a far greater number of civil society organisations participating. It was on this basis, and as a result of civil society organisations really be central in the fight against TB, that the TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) were asked to co-host and coordinate a session dedicated to the ‘Role of Civil Society in TB Control’. This session proved highly engaging with a wide-range of presentations from civil society organisations across the WHO European Region. Paul Sommerfeld, TB Alert, discussed not only the importance of CSOs but also obstacles that many face in carrying out their work. Carrying on with yesterdays theme, he spoke about the significance of TB partnerships and networks, such as TBEC, EHRN and the newly formed RICC-TB, and how valuable these can be in ensuring we speak in a collective and powerful voice.   Along with the introductory speech by Paul Sommerfeld, there were a range of other speakers from across the region. These included: Masha Tvaradze, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (Lithuania); Darko Iliev, Medical and Ecological Research Centre of (Macedonia); Zahedul Islam, International HIV/AIDS Alliance (Ukraine); Denis Denisenko,Rinat Akhmetov Foundation More…

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