Cross-border barriers to TB treatment should be addressed urgently in Europe, experts say

8 June, 2010 - The Hague - European countries need to take steps to ensure continuity of care for people with TB if they move between countries as migrants or travelers. At the Wolfheze expert meeting last week in The Hague, Europe’s TB experts called for a more concerted effort across borders to provide quality TB diagnosis, care and treatment follow-up to those infected and affected.

European countries face an array of challenges in cross-border TB control, they stressed. In addition to lack of continuity of care for TB patients when they transfer to another country, these include insufficient clarity in coverage of treatment costs and lack of data on health providers in the country of destination.

Wolfheze Workshops, a think-tank movement of European TB experts, was initiated by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and its partners in 1990. Every one to two years a growing number of clinicians, researchers and TB program managers from all (53) member states of WHO European region convene for the Wolfheze Workshops. The Wolfheze movement was established as a forum to discuss the latest developments and scientific insights in the field of TB control and to reach consensus on modern TB control policies, guidelines and standards in the WHO European region.

On the initiative of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation a working group was established at this 20-year jubilee edition of Wolfheze Workshops. Also involving the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), World Health Organization and country representatives, the working group will define the minimum standards of TB care across the borders to ensure patients’ rights and public health interests.