Romania’s Ministry of Health has launched a pilot project to conduct the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) patients in outpatient settings, thereby avoiding unnecessary hospitalization. Launched on 9 January 2020, the project represents an important step in establishing people-centred care in the country.
The Ministry-led initiative is based in Bucharest and focuses on about 200 patients with tuberculosis, who will be treated in dispensaries, bypassing the need for isolating and hospitalizing patients unless clinical complications arise.
Towards patient-centred care
Treatment in ambulatory or outpatient settings is not only more patient-friendly, because it allows them to stay at home with their families, but is ultimately more efficient for the national health care system. This is because it does not present an added burden on hospital structures. The aim is to eventually move even closer to primary health care and resources in local communities.
Furthermore, the project allows for rapid diagnosis of those with TB, reducing the risk of others contracting the disease. Depending on the results, the pilot could be expanded to the national level.
The approach is in line with WHO recommendations, which advocate more people-centred care and redirecting resources from hospital-based care to ambulatory services.
A collaborative approach
Backed by the National Institute of Public Health, the “Marius Nasta” Pneumophthisiology Institute and the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation, the Ministry of Health’s efforts seek to address issues around the Romanian health system’s response to cases of TB. The pilot will be carried out between January and December 2020 as part of a broader project titled “Addressing the health system-related challenges in TB care in Romania”, which runs through 2021 and is funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
In close partnership with WHO, the Ministry of Health has worked towards establishing a stronger accountability framework, invested in capacity-building activities, and plans to provide training on strengthening the health system to set up robust governance capabilities.