Sustainability and integration of HIV and TB services for vulnerable people in Europe is in focus

Author: Yuliia Holub

In 2014, WHO diagnosed in European region 80% more new HIV cases than ten years earlier. The Eastern part of the region has the fastest growing HIV data and the second lowest treatment access in the world. As well as the highest rates of the global multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) (about 20%) and drug resistance among treated TB cases. Having emerging HIV and TB situation in European countries, problem of sustainable funding of the response. In the response of the transitioning to domestic funding of the HIV and TB services in European region and accenting attention on the possibilities integrate them in universal health coverage , on 12-13 December 2017, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is launching a high-level dialogue – “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”.

During the two-day event, representatives of international and state institutions, civil society, NGOs, technical agencies and donors will discuss current challenges and opportunities in the European Union and neighboring countries for successful integrating TB and HIV services into national and European health systems. Besides, the participants will get possibility discuss practical and effective access to health care, especially for key affected populations.

Being involved in the organising the event, Eurasian harm reduction association is keen to discuss burning issues of the sustainable domestic funding for harm reduction services and its integration into health and social care systems with high level decision makers, regional experts and colleagues from regional community networks.

“In fact we already know what need to be done for effective response on HIV and TB among people using drugs. All standards are developed, trained social workers are in place. We do have money. Unfortunately millions of taxpayer resources are spend now for caching drug users by police and keeping them in prison, which only cause social and health problems but not solving anything. So where is the key obstacle for being effective in epidemic response? In political will, but more correctly – in political sabotage. With several miracle exceptions, decision makers do not hear our arguments for effective programs.

But we will not stop our pushing for prioritisation of services for communities. We need to mobilise communities on municipal and city level for active advocacy for the sustainable services” – says on the first plenary of the meeting Anna Dovbakh, the Executive Director of Eurasian Harm Reduction Association.

In the result of the meeting “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems” there will be outcome document with recommendations on integration of HIV and TB response in national health systems especially focused on sustainable financing of services for vulnerable groups in European Union and neighboring countries.