Domestic spending on national TB programmes has been reduced in several European countries but many will also be affected by changes in eligibility for aid from the
Most Eastern European nations can no longer apply for new funding under the Global Fund’s revised eligibility rules, which “could seriously threaten and potentially reverse the progress that has been made so far”.
The Fund finances two thirds of all TB programmes but is facing a funding gap over the next five years of €16 billion. This has forced it to scale back support for “middle income countries”, including several European countries where the burden of TB – particularly drug-resistant TB – is high.
Speaking at a symposium in the European Parliament in Brussels, Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the
Dr Ditiu, herself a Romanian doctor, said Europe should look at ways to generate new sources of financing. A
South African Minister for Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said Africa can contribute to global efforts to eradicate TB. However, she said she wants African scientists to be part of the clinical research which leads to new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines.
This, she told the symposium at the European Parliament, should be done in the spirit of genuine partnership rather than making Africans “the guinea-pigs for products developed by others”.
Prof Charles Mgone, Executive Director of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) said several potential new vaccines are being developed by research institutes in Europe and Africa.
He said the current BCG vaccine protects children against more pulmonary TB but that new vaccines will be needed to protect people of all ages against all forms of the disease.