WHO/Europe, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and other partners organized a high-level regional meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia from 28–30 September 2015, to address regional challenges and discuss ways towards a successful transition to domestic funding of national responses to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics in countries of eastern Europe and central Asia (EECA).
Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe visited Georgia from 29–30 September to take part in the meeting and to hold bilateral meetings, including meeting with David Sergeenko, Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.
HIV/AIDS overview in the WHO European Region
HIV infection remains a major public health challenge in the WHO European Region and the epidemic continues to grow at an accelerated pace in EECA countries. The meeting discussed the key challenges including:
TB overview in the WHO European Region
"While the burden of drug-susceptible TB in the WHO European Region is one of the lowest in the world compared with other WHO Regions, our Region bears one quarter of the multidrug-resistant form of TB that occurs globally. So there is no reason to be complacent about the TB situation. More needs to be done to ultimately eliminate TB," said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe in her speech to the delegation.
Discussions on TB centred on the Tuberculosis action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020, endorsed at the 65th WHO Regional Committee in September 2015, which builds on the progress made in the previous action plan and addresses the challenges ahead including:
Member States are committed to sustainably tackle TB, HIV and harm reduction care through an integrated and patient-centred approach with support from international partners including WHO/Europe. Countries intend to develop action plans to ensure that the transition to domestic funding of HIV, TB and harm reduction programmes is responsible and ethical.