The Stop TB Partnership today welcomed the issuance of the Delhi Communiqué at the Second BRICS Health Ministers’ Meeting, which was held in Delhi last Friday. In the communiqué the Ministers of Health of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, People’s Republic of China and Republic of South Africa places focus on tuberculosis (TB), including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB/HIV as major health threats in need of urgent attention. The meeting and declaration followed on the Delhi Declaration of 29 March 2012 during the BRICS leaders’ summit and the Joint Communiqué of the BRICS Health Ministers at Geneva of 22 May 2012.
The Ministers recognize “that multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a major public health problem for the BRICS countries due to its high prevalence and incidence mostly on the marginalized and vulnerable sections of society. They resolved to collaborate and cooperate for development of capacity and infrastructure to reduce the prevalence and incidence of tuberculosis through innovation for new drugs/vaccines, diagnostics and promotion of consortia of tuberculosis researchers to collaborate on clinical trials of drugs and vaccines, strengthening access to affordable medicines and delivery of quality care ,” the communiqué states.
The Ministers also recognized the need to cooperate for adopting and improving systems for notification of TB patients, availability of anti-TB drugs at facilities by improving supplier performance and procurement systems . Noting the particular need for focus on TB/HIV, they called for improvement of logistics and management of HIV-associated TB in the primary health care system; and in the context of HIV care, the need for determination of HIV-TB co-infections.
“It is unprecedented that the BRICS Ministers discussed and agreed on these crucial steps for reducing the burden of MDR-TB and TB/HIV, while stressing the need for strengthened collaboration in BRICS States, including implementation of affordable, equitable and sustainable solutions,” said Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership.
The Ministers renewed their commitment to strengthening international cooperation in health, in particular South-South cooperation, with a view to supporting efforts in developing countries to promote health for all and resolve to establish the BRICS network of technological cooperation. They also underlined the important role of generic medicines in the realization of the right to health and the importance of technology transfer as a means to empower developing countries –both of which are crucial for scaling up access to MDR-TB and TB/HIV treatment.
“Strong commitment by BRICS countries on TB can be a turning point in the global fight against TB – when you consider that 43% of the world’s population live in these five countries and nearly half of all TB cases – and almost a third of MDR-TB cases – occur among their people. These new commitments to cooperation and scale-up give us great reason for hope,” said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department.
Click here to link to the Delhi Communiqué