With more than 100 signatures from deputies and senators from different parliamentary groups, the Bill that aims at reducing the impact of tuberculosis and proposes measures for patient support was registered at the Romania Parliament on 31 March 2016 by Deputy Tamara Ciofu, in the name of the initiators.
Recently, the Stop TB Partnership, through the Executive Director Dr. Lucica Diţiu, and the Global TB Caucus, through the co-founder, British MP Nick Herbert, expressed their support and belief that this legislative initiative is an important step in the efforts to eliminate one of the most important threats to public health in Romania.
In the press conference held in September 2014, the Association for the Support of Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis Patients and the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation launched a draft version of the Bill, in the presence of Romanian specialists Dr. Alexander Rafila and Dr. Florentina Furtunescu.
During the time that has passed since the launch of this Bill, we managed to attract supporters from the general population who signed the petition for the approval of this bill, people suffering from tuberculosis and their families, organizations running projects in the field or in related fields (vulnerable groups, people living with HIV / AIDS).
After a year and a half since being elaborated, the Bill is still not only current but is becoming increasingly necessary for the eradication of tuberculosis and for the health of future generations. Given that the international donors that now support, through projects, interventions and services in the field of TB control, move their resources increasingly more to countries with income levels below that of Romania, the urgent approval of this Bill is not only a strategic and brave investment but also an act of responsibility towards future generations in Romania and Europe.
Thus, the Bill follows the patient from diagnosis all the way to cure and community reintegration, the most important provisions being as follows:
– Universal access to rapid diagnosis and complete treatment, continuous and properly administered;
– Psychosocial support for patients during treatment and monthly allowance for food throughout treatment in ambulatory;
– The right to leave and allowance for temporary work incapacity, without being conditioned upon the mandatory contribution to pension funds, throughout the period of treatment to cure
In Romania, Tuberculosis kills more than 1,000 people and affects another 15,000 every year, mostly among the young and active population. Romania is the EU country with the highest number of tuberculosis cases (about 20% of TB patients in the EU come from Romania). Although it records a success rate of over 85% for new cases, Romania has one of the lowest cure rates for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world (32%), showing an annual increase in the infectious patients reservoir. A contagious person can transmit the infection to other 10-15 people a year. Difficulties related to the medical system plus the social problems resulting and / or enhanced by TB require bold action by all the countries to limit and eliminate the tuberculosis epidemic.