On Monday RESULTS staff were joined by other members of the ACTION (Advocacy to Control TB Internationally) Project and civil society organisations to meet as the TB Europe Coalition, to discuss how to turn commitments from the 2007 Berlin Declaration on Tuberculosis into firm actions by policy makers. In 2007, 300 delegates from across Europe adopted the Berlin Declaration, which described TB as ‘an increasing threat to health security in the WHO European Region’ and called for urgent action. By signing the Declaration, member countries committed themselves to provide political will and resources to combat TB.
Since 2007 insufficient progress has been made and TB continues to increase in magnitude and risk in the European region. According to WHO Europe, TB causes 49 new cases and kills seven people every hour in Europe. WHO further estimates that almost half a million cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and 40,000 cases of extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) occur every year. The rate of TB is falling much more slowly than previously anticipated, both globally as well as within Europe. Current diagnostic tools take weeks to identify drug-resistant strains of TB and no new treatment for TB has been developed in decades.
The TB Europe Coalition met to discuss how to hold governments accountable to the promises they made three years ago in Berlin and how we can monitor commitments made within the declaration. The Berlin Declaration calls for more action, such as investing in and strengthening health systems to improve TB control. Now is the time for governments to step up to fulfil the promises made in 2007 and for civil society organisations to call on them to do so.