The Romanian Government approved by Decision the National Strategy for Tuberculosis Control for 2015-2020

The Romanian Government approved by Decision the National Strategy for Tuberculosis Control for 2015-2020. The normative act aims to decrease the tuberculosis incidence and mortality, through services for prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and increased adherence to treatment, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The development of the strategy was coordinated by the Ministry of Health and the working group included experts from national and international institutions and organizations such as the “Marius Nasta” Pulmonology Institute, the “Prof. Dr. Matei Balş” Institute for Infectious Diseases, the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation, the Association for MDR-TB Patients Support, the Romanian Association against AIDS, UNICEF and WHO.

Some of the specific objectives to be reached by 2020:

  • To ensure universal access torapiddiagnosticmethods;
  • To diagnoseatleast 85% of all estimated cases of sensitive tuberculosisandmultidrug-resistant tuberculosis;
  • To cure at least 90% of new cases and at least 85% of the re-treatments;
  • To cure75% of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis cases;
  • To cutoverallmortalityratetoless than3per 100,000 population;
  • To decrease the overallincidence ofdisease;
  • To improve thehealth systemcapacityto control

Among other results expected to be achieved following the strategy approval, we mention:

  • Decrease of the overall incidence from 72,9 cases per 100.000 population in 2013 to less than 50 cases per 100.000 population in 2020;
  • Decrease from 5,3 deaths per 100.000 population in 2013 to less than 5 per 100.000 in 2020;
  • Decrease of the total number of patients, from 15.523 cases notified in 2013 to less than 10.000 cases in 2020.

According to a news post from the Government website, “the approval of the National Strategy for Tuberculosis Control makes it possible to mobilize resources from EU structural funds in 2014-2020 and other European grants. Thus, it is estimated that the Strategy will be financed from: 145 million lei from structural funds in 2014-2020, 46 million lei from funds granted through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, 37 million lei from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the state budget and other grants or reimbursable funds. By reaching the annual objectives, the total expenditure, after a peak in 2016, will gradually decrease until 2020. The total budget for the 2015-2020 Strategy for the activities of diagnosis, treatment, laboratory equipment, surveillance and human resources amounts to almost 1.571 billion lei.”

The approval of the National Tuberculosis Control Strategy is an important step in the national efforts to fight this disease which makes tens of thousands of victims every year in Romania (about 16.000 people get sick and 1.100 people die of tuberculosis each year). Romania has one of the lowest treatment success rates in the European Union. Despite some progress in the past 12 years, Romania is the EU country with the highest incidence of tuberculosis (four times above the EU average!), one of the lowest treatment success rates and, accordingly, an annual growth of the infectious patients reservoir.

The National Strategy for Tuberculosis Control has the ultimate objective to ensure the conditions for eliminating TB as a public health problem in Romania by 2050.