51 European health organisations, the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation and other Romanian organisations included, addressed a letter to President Barroso on the 18th of November asking for immediate and effective involvement from the European Commission in the fight against the alarming increase in the HIV and Tuberculosis epidemics in the European Region.
The signatory organisations bring, in support for their request, the report “Bridging the Gap – How the European Union can address the funding crisis for TB and HIV programmes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”
“TB and HIV continue to present significant threats to public health in the region” it is shown in the letter. “The European region accounts for nearly a quarter of all drug-resistant TB cases globally and has the world’s fastest growing HIV epidemic, with significant increases in mortality from AIDS. These diseases urgently require sustained political and financial support from both domestic and international sources, including regional level support from the European Union.”
The letter also shows that the European Union cannot ignore the high incidence rates of drug resistant tuberculosis in the region, or the increasing prevalence of HIV, nor the lack of funds for covering the basic rights of the patients and of all the people affected. The document specifically names Romania and Lithuania as the countries with the most TB and HIV related difficulties.
“Underfunding HIV and TB programmes in the European region will inevitably contribute to a further rise in rates of disease and drug-resistance. In addition, it will also cause an enormous burden on the European region’s economy for years to come. Current conservative estimates put the overall cost of TB in the EU at an astonishing €5.9 billion per year. The only way to reduce these costs now and in the future is to ensure TB and HIV programmes in the region receive adequate funding, including from the European Commission and the Global Fund, and reaches people in need.”
The signatory organisations ask the European Commission to adequately respond both politically and financially to the increase in the HIV and TB epidemics in Europe and are open to meeting President Barroso in order to discuss current problems and options.
*Read here the letter signed by the 51 organisations and the Report “Bridging the Gap”.
Costinela Caraene, PR Coordinator
Tel: 0040.721.151.187, 0040.722.214.171.124