One of the leading activities of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) as a partner of the TB-REP 2.0 programme is to support Member States implement the new WHO treatment guidelines for DR-TB and provide further recommendations. Successful implementation of these guidelines will hopefully enable improved DR-TB treatment success rates. However, several important measures must be taken in order to maximise the potential of these guidelines. These include modifying clinical guidelines and national strategic plans, especially regarding registration of anti-TB drugs, procurement and management practices; promotion of the people-centred TB care model; development of mechanisms for sustainable financing of TB care during the transition from donor to domestic funding, etc.
On the 12-13 of December 2019, in Kiev, WHO/Europe and the PAS Center held a regional technical consultation meeting entitled “Transitioning to the latest WHO Policy Guidance on drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB)”. The objectives of the meeting were: to review progress in implementing new WHO DR-TB treatment guidelines in TB-REP 2.0 programme member countries, identify emerging challenges, exchange experience in solving them, and outline mechanisms to avoid such challenges or quickly eliminate them. Taking into account the tasks set by the organizers of the meeting, the composition of its participants was as representative as possible: heads of national TB control programs (NTP), TB services, monitoring and evaluation departments, drug agencies, etc. They were supported by a large group of international experts: staff from WHO/Europe, the Global Fund, from WHO country offices dealing with TB, and TB advisers supported in a number of countries by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Starting with an overview of TB-REP 2.0, its progress and achievements and the role in supporting transition to modern DR-TB drugs and treatment regimens jointly presented by Liliana Caraulan (PAS Center), Dr Martin van den Boom(WHO/Europe) and Yuliya Chorna (TBEC), the review of the latest WHO guidelines and recommendations for the treatment of DR-TB presented by Dr Askar Yedilbayev, Head of the TB Unit (WHO/Europe), and the obstacles to their implementation, presented by Dr Ihor Perehinets (WHO/Europe), Dr Maya Kavtaradze (Global Drug Facility - GDF), Dr. Nino Lomtadze (NTP, Georgia), the meeting continued with presentations and discussions on country situations. Then the participants considered adjustment of national clinical guidelines and national strategic plans for TB control in line with the new WHO guidelines for treatment of DR-TB and Dr Martin van den Boom jointly with Liliana Caraulan presented the results of the priory to the event filled-in questionnaires. Due to this, by the end of the meeting, the working groups of the participating countries were able to submit draft plans concerning the transition to work in line with the latest WHO recommendations, having also analysed possible obstacles and suggesting ways to overcome them.