WHO/Europe will strengthen its partnership with Romania to improve the quality and delivery of tuberculosis (TB) services, turn the tide against drug-resistant TB, and accelerate the implementation of structural health system reforms in the country. These were the main themes of a high-level visit to Romania on 13–14 October 2014 by Dr Hans Kluge, Director, Division of Health Systems and Public Health and Special Representative of the Regional Director to prevent and combat multidrug- and extensively drug-resistant (M/XDR) TB, Dr Marc Sprenger, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Mr Nicolas Cantau, Regional Manager of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
The delegation met with high officials in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Public Finance to discuss the latest progress on preventing and combating drug-resistant TB and to agree on future actions aimed at strengthening people-centred health systems.
Dr Kluge commended the Minister of Health for his leadership on the National Health Strategy 2014–2020, drafted in line with the Health 2020 policy framework, and the National Tuberculosis Strategic Plan 2015–2020, which takes into account recommendations made jointly by WHO/Europe and ECDC after a review of the National Tuberculosis Programme last March. Based on the latter, Romania developed a TB concept note with a strong integrated HIV component for the Global Fund.
In view of pending public hearings, Dr Kluge expressed optimism that the Ministry of Health will approve the TB strategic plan by the end of the year and that the Ministry of Finance will provide the necessary government funding to implement it. WHO/Europe and ECDC will collaborate further with the government to deliver technical assistance for the continued reform of the health system, particularly with regard to rationalization of hospital services and readjustment of national public health programmes.