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TBEC talks advocacy at Wolfheze Conference

TBEC talks advocacy at Wolfheze Conference

This week, many members of the TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) are attending the 16th Wolfheze Workshops in The Hague, the Netherlands. The workshops, jointly hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), aim is to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) control in the WHO European Region. What are the Wolfheze Workshops and who is involved? The workshops provide a platform for national TB programme managers, health authorities, laboratory experts, national TB surveillance correspondents, civil society organisations and other partners to discuss past achievements and future challenges. As all these groups come together under one roof, the workshops really provide an invaluable opportunity for sharing experiences, discussing progress and planning for the development of Region specific methods for fighting TB based on a consensus-building approach. TB remains a critical issue worldwide and the WHO European Region where, every hour, there are 49 new TB cases and 7 deaths, is no exception. The problem is particularly acute when you take into account multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). An estimated 76,000 MDR-TB cases occured in the WHO European Region in 2011, accounting for nearly 25 percent of cases worldwide. These shocking figures illustrate why it is so important so many More…

WHO launches ‘Action Plan’ to combat drug resistant TB in Europe

Last week, at a press conference in London, WHO Europe unveiled an Action Plan to tackle multi-drug and extensively drug resistant TB in the WHO European Region. WHO Europe also presented the Plan for endorsement last week at the WHO Europe Regional Committee meeting held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Plan aims to contain the spread of drug-resistant TB by achieving universal access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment in all Member States in the WHO European Region by 2015. Following on from the WHO Europe press conference, the Action Plan received international media coverage emphasizing an urgent need to take action. As the BBC highlights, TB outbreaks are occurring right here in Europe, with London holding the highest TB rate of any capital city in Western Europe.  At the press conference, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar of the UK Health Protection Agency also explained how ‘the larger numbers in Eastern Europe represent a failure to take action’ over the past few decades. London barrister and former TB patient Anna Watterson attended the press event to give a personal account of her experience living with multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Anna is proof that TB can affect anyone and anywhere, and demonstrates the danger in becoming More…

Voices in the fight against the European epidemic

The TB Europe Coalition and the ACTION Project are giving TB a ‘human face’ in their report ‘Tuberculosis – Voices in the fight against the European epidemic’ by looking behind the statistics to focus on the every-day challenges faced by TB patients and their carers in the WHO Europen Region. TB is a global epidemic, causing devastating loss of life and hampering economic productivity. It is also a European problem, where TB rates have been on the rise over the past few decades. This report seeks to reenergise the fight against TB by telling the human side of the disease; giving a voice to the individuals and communities who have long been represented in numbers and figures. In these pages, patients, doctors, advocates and healthcare workers from seven European countries – Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, UK and Ukraine – tell of their experiences. “TB takes people out of the workforce and puts them into a state of poverty. They are not just faceless statistics, they are mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and they are suffering.” – Jonathan Stillo, medical anthropologist, Romania Those interviewed address the need to sustain political will and financial investment as well as emphasizing how More…