Global tuberculosis report 2016

WHO has published a global TB report every year since 1997. The main aim of the report is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease at global, regional and country levels.

This is done in the context of recommended global TB strategies and targets endorsed by WHO’s Member States and broader development goals set by the United Nations.

Download the full report on Global Tuberculosis from the website

Keeping Europe malaria-free

The European Region is the first in the world to have interrupted indigenous malaria transmission with the number of cases dropping from 90,712 in 1995 to zero in 2015.

Countries in the WHO European Region at risk of malaria reintroduction (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) have reaffirmed their commitment to keep the Region malaria-free.

For more information about keeping Europe malaria-free on the website

Polio vaccine switch

Every country that was using trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) (containing all three serotypes of poliovirus) has permanently withdrawn this vaccine and either replaced it with bivalent OPV – containing only types 1 and 3 – or moved to an immunization schedule with only the inactivated form of polio vaccine (IPV).

Wild poliovirus type 2 has not been circulating since 1999 and was declared eradicated in September 2015. Removal of this eradicated serotype from the vaccine will further reduce the rare risk that a type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus will emerge. The type 2 component of trivalent OPV also interferes with the immune response to poliovirus types 1 and 3.

For more information about the Polio Eradication Plan on the website


Europe close to eliminating measles and rubella

Thirty-two countries in the European Region have interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella, according to the conclusions of the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC), released inApril 2016.

The independent RVC assesses Member States’ progress towards elimination of measles and rubella by reviewing epidemiological and laboratory surveillance data submitted by each country’s national verification committee, now established in 50 of the 53 Member States.

Once a country has demonstrated the absence of endemic measles or rubella virus transmission for at least 36 consecutive months, the RVC can verify that the disease has been eliminated. 32 countries interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella in 2014,  21 Member States had eliminated measles and 20 had eliminated rubella within their borders during the period 2012–2014.

For more information about Measles and Rubella Elimination in each country from the website

TB elimination at stake in Europe

New data released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe show that an estimated 340,000 Europeans had tuberculosis (TB) in 2014, corresponding to a rate of 37 cases per 100,000 people.

Although new TB cases decreased by 4.3% on average between 2010 and 2014, high rates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB and TB in vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, drug and alcohol abusers and migrants from countries with high numbers of cases of  TB continue to challenge TB elimination.

A quarter of all 480,000 patients with MDR-TB globally were in the European Region in 2014.

The risk that migrants and refugees will be infected or develop TB depends on several factors, including the TB rates in the country of origin. In the Syrian Arab Republic, for example, the rate of new TB cases is 17 per 100,000 population, which is less than half the European Region average of 37. In addition, as TB is not easily transmitted and contacts are limited, there is a low risk that migrants will transmit the disease to resident populations.

The European Region is the only one in the world with a consensus document on the minimum package of cross-border TB control and care interventions. These include ensuring access to medical services, irrespective of a migrant’s registration status, and a non-deportation policy until intensive TB treatment has been completed.

To read the ECDC-WHO report on Tuberculosis surveillance and monitoring in Europe 2015, on the website

To download the Systematic screening for active tuberculosis guide, on the website

Prevention and care of tuberculosis

In this compendium, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has collected good examples of the prevention, control and care of TB. They want countries to be able to share their knowledge and experience of using the health-system approach to tackle health problems.

This report contains 45 examples of good practice in strengthening health systems for the prevention and care of TB and drug-resistant TB from 21 countries, including 14 countries of high priority for MDR-TB and countries with high and low TB incidence.

To read the compendium on the website

The fight against antimicrobial resistance

An international task force has been convened to battle the increasing resistance to life-saving drugs. The Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) consists of representatives from the EU, the USA and other countries such as Canada and Norway.

Infections from antimicrobial resistance (AMR) kill almost 50,000 people a year in the EU and USA combined and billions of euros and dollars are lost in avoidable health care costs and lost productivity.

For more information about TATFAR, click here on the website

Tackling HIV Stereotypes: targeting late diagnosis across demographics

March 2015. This was the closing conference of the IMPRESS Health 2 project.

The programme includes speaker details and the presentations are listed in the order they were delivered.

IMPRESS Health 2

Impress health 2 logo

2011 – 2015 This  project brought together partners from the Picardie region of France with colleagues in Kent and Medway to help identify the reasons behind late diagnosis of HIV and how to promote earlier testing. It was part of the Interreg IVA France (Channel) England programme, co-financed by the ERDF, and worked with local authorities, charities and healthcare organisations on both side of the Channel, bringing nearly £1 million of funding into the public health sector over its two year lifetime.

 In 2012, 118 people were diagnosed with HIV in Kent and Medway and for more than half of these people, the diagnosis came at a late stage in their illness.  Late diagnosis is one of the biggest contributing factors to illness and death for people with HIV. If someone is diagnosed a long time after they have been infected, it is more likely that the virus will have already seriously damaged their immune system. Early diagnosis is important so people can start treatment if they need to, look after their own health and take steps to ensure they don’t pass the virus on.

The project partners carried out research to identify the factors behind late diagnosis in Kent, Medway and Picardie and also piloted innovative ways to promote earlier HIV testing, which will contribute to the better health of the population in their cross border region. The research study was guided by Canterbury Christ Church University, and Professor Annmarie Ruston, Head of the Centre for Health and Social Care Research, has said ‘this study is valuable for Kent and Medway as it has the potential to improve the health outcomes for patients with HIV, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment.’

We were the lead partner for this project, with English co-partners Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent County Council Public Health, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and the Medway NHS Foundation Trust.  Our French partners were the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d’Amiens, Instance Regionale d’Education et de Promotion de la Sante du Picardie and Association Aides.

A closing conference Tackling HIV Stereotypes” was held in the spring of 2015 and the final report Targeting late diagnosis of HIV in Kent, Medway and Picardie was produced in the summer of 2015.

For more information, visit the IMPRESS website  on

Sexually transmitted diseases

The European Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the WHO Regional Office were among the organisations taking part in an HIV/AIDS think tank in early July.

To see the presentations and read the reports, click here on