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Regional Approach for TB Control Stresses Systems for Health

15 September 2015

VILNIUS, Lithuania – A new grant agreement between 11 Eastern European and Central Asian nations and the Global Fund aims to boost tuberculosis control by building stronger systems for health and stressing high level political advocacy and interaction between governments.

The financial resources provided through the Global Fund come from many sources and partners, represented today by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The grant was signed at the 65th session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Europe meeting.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia have demonstrated sustained commitment to the fight against drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis. However, the region has the world’s highest burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis, with less than 50 percent of cases detected and successfully treated.

The US$6 million grant agreement starts in January and will run for three years. It aims to develop a flagship approach to TB control through building stronger systems for health, up-to-date models for patient-centered care, and strong political advocacy for best practices, supported by the StopTB Partnership and the TB Europe Coalition. This regional grant complements US$658 million already allocated by the Global Fund to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“Evidence shows that community-based care is the most effective way of treating and preventing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “This agreement aims to translate the best practices we have seen at community level, supported by political advocacy, and spread them across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.”

The grant covers 11 countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. It is implemented by a regional nongovernmental organization, Center for Health Policies and Studies (PAS Center), and includes civil society at regional and country levels.

"This important regional initiative is urgently needed to further boost political commitment to fundamental transformation of health system delivery and financing at national level, capitalizing on the current best practices and a visible appetite for reform,” said Viorel Soltan, Director of PAS Center. “The critical transformation will lead to innovative models of care centered on people of the region.”

The WHO Regional Office for Europe under the leadership of the Zsuzsanna Jakab and her team will contribute technical leadership and coordination. Several activities will involve the TB Europe Coalition and its regional network, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Kazakhstan School of Public Health and the European Respiratory Society.

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