Press conference on World TB Day 2009 in Moscow

ITAR-TASS News Agency, Moscow, 24 March 2009 - Over 30 Russian and international partners and around 20 mass media representatives as well representatives of government, academic, non-governmental and international technical, humanitarian and donor organizations joined together for a press conference on the occasion of World TB Day.

The conference was also attended by representatives of the Russian Federal Ministry of Health, Russian Federal Ministry of Justice Department of correctional institutions, Research Institute of Phthisiopulmonology, Central Institute of Health Care Organization, Moscow City TB Center, WHO, UNAIDS, USAID, Global Fund TB project in Russia (Russian Health Care Foundation) Partners in Heath, URC, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS,TB and Malaria, International Federation of Red Cross, Russian Red Cross and others.

The key note speaker, professor Perelman, characterized the TB situation in the country as “tense”, acknowledged good political support to TB control at the national level, and called for more support at the level of Russian regions. Russia achieved noticeable improvement in TB incidence and mortality in the past few years but much need to be done to achieve the desired state, whereas it faces possible deterioration of the TB situation due to social stress, rising unemployment, falling personal earnings, poorer nutrition caused by the financial and economic crisis. MDR TB and HIV associated TB are fast growing challenges.

Russian Ministry of Health assured of its the continued support to TB control, including centralized procurement of key TB drugs at the national level, despite the financial hardships and new challenges. Federal Correctional Service highlighted improved TB control in the penitentiary sector.

The press conference included an awarding ceremony for the winners of the kid’s poster contest “I am helping fight TB!”. The contest included submissions from around 20 regions, from Khakasiya Republic to Vladimir region. The contest, which has been part of World TB Day events for 8 years, has the aim of raising awareness among school students about TB and equipping them with knowledge about early symptoms and basics of TB prevention, as well as the need to live a healthy life.

Participants received information packages on the TB situation and the national response to TB.