European Parliament Working Group on Innovation, Access to Medicines and Poverty-Related Diseases
Putting Patients’ Needs First:Supporting better innovation, access to medicines and healthcare to combat poverty related diseases
Drug-resistant TB and TB-HIV co-infection on the EU’s Doorstep: The example of Ukraine
What can the EU do to curb the threat?
European Parliament, Brussels
Room JAN 6Q1
13 April 2011, 12.30 – 14.00
Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is on rise, threatening global health and receiving inadequate or inappropriate responses. MDR-TB occurs when health programmes fail to deliver regular and reliable treatment to TB patients. Treatment of drug-resistant TB can take up to two years and costs 100 more than first line TB treatment.
Of the 440 000 estimated MDR-TB patients in the world, 81 000 cases are estimated to be in WHO European region and equate to 20% of the global burden.
The collapse of the Soviet Union left the people in the newly independent states in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation with uneven access to health care. According to a recent WHO report, TB patients in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are now ten times more likely to have MDR-TB than those in the rest of the world.
In Ukraine, TB rates more than doubled between 1992 and 2002, a result of the economic and social challenges that came with independence. In 2007, 16% of new TB cases and 41.5% of those previously treated for TB were multi-drug resistant, making Ukraine the country with the third highest MDR-TB rate in the world after Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia where MDR-TB prevalence is high also experience the world’s fastest growing HIV infection rates. This rapidly expanding combined epidemic presents an enormous public health challenge, as well as a socio-economic threat. People living with HIV/AIDS are 20 to 40 times more susceptible to developing all forms of TB. TB is the leading cause of death among people who are HIV positive.
Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, WHO Europe, the European Centre for Disease Control, the TB Europe Coalition, the European Aids Treatment Group (EATG)/Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and civil society organisations from Ukraine will come together to discuss how the EU and other health organisations can tackle this growing European health threat.
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