On 13th of October 2020, members of national TB Caucuses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region gathered online to discuss the current situation of the tuberculosis response in the region and globally, as per the 2-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of UN High Level Meeting on TB (hosted on the 26th of September of 2018). Parliamentarians from Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Uzbekistan attended this online meeting.
Members of the national Tajik TB Caucus who have just recently joined the national TB Caucus also attended the meeting. During the session invited speakers provided information and discussed with Members of Parliament (MPs) what can be done from the parliamentary side.
Sandra Irbe, Senior Portfolio Manager of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, highlighted the importance of the involvement of parliamentarians in the Global Fund (GF) transition in their countries. Yuliia Kalancha, Executive Director of TB Europe Coalition (TBEC) explained that there is a need to adjust the High-level Meeting indicators due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on TB services. Parliamentarians also heard from Liliana Caraulan, Program Coordinator of the PAS Center about the risk assessment mechanism of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the continuity of tuberculosis control programs in the EECA countries.
By the end of the call, parliamentarians were very satisfied with the received information, as well they shared their national experiences on protecting the rights of TB patients in times of COVID-19. MPs discussed legislation related to TB, and the Resolution on COVID and its impact on TB and its adoption at the national level. The following recommendations for Parliamentarians on the Way to Achieve the Objectives of the Declaration of the High-level meeting were agreed:
Support the development and adoption of revised national indicators on tuberculosis control in line with the objectives of the High-level meeting and Sustainable Development Goals;
Promote the establishment of a High-level oversight body / mechanism for regularly reviewing the TB response;
Parliamentarians must be members of any oversight body / mechanism that regularly reviews the TB response to national level.
Hold regular parliamentary / committee hearings or any other method of parliamentary scrutiny (parliamentary appeals/requests to governmental structures) with the aim of the annual reviewing progress towards the goals of the UN High Level Meeting on TB.
The parliamentarians also agreed that such recommendations should be related to the national needs of each country. So the further steps for moving towards the UN HLM indicators will be defined by each head of the national TB Caucus and the regional EECA manager of GTBC will help to organise further actions on it.
This meeting was held as part of the TB-REP 2.0, a project funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and implemented by the Center for Health Policies
and Studies (PAS Center) of the Republic of Moldova as the principal recipient, in collaboration with partners: WHO/Europe, Global TB Caucus, TB Europe Coalition and TB People.