Meeting of the Joint ECDC/WHO Surveillance Network for Tuberculosis and Wolfheze Workshops
The 2015 meeting of the Joint ECDC/WHO Surveillance Network for Tuberculosis was held in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 26-27 May 2015. The meeting was organised jointly by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and WHO/Europe for TB surveillance experts from WHO European region including European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) Member States (MSs). The participants included 47 nominated contact points for TB surveillance from 42 countries, as well as experts from ECDC and WHO/Europe, WHO headquarters and country offices. In addition, experts from seven EU Enlargement Countries and from the KNCV TB Foundation (the Netherlands) attended the meeting as observers.
The event was organized in conjunction and in parallel with the Wolfheze Workshops for the National Tuberculosis Programme Managers. The Wolfheze Workshops aim to strengthen tuberculosis control in the WHO European Region, with emphasis on sharing experiences and discussing progress and plans for the development of Region-specific guidance documents based on a consensus-building approach.
The ECDC and the WHO Regional Office for Europe jointly coordinate TB surveillance in the European Region. Both organizations have agreed to share the data submitted by the 53 Member States and all tasks related to surveillance and monitoring of TB. Since 2007, the Regional Office and ECDC organise meetings of the joint ECDC/WHO Surveillance Network for Tuberculosis to strengthen and coordinate TB surveillance in the European Region.
The aim of these meetings is to discuss TB epidemiology and progress towards elimination in Europe. Network members can share their experiences and learn about good practices how to improve the data quality and comparability.
The WHO checklist with standards and benchmarks for TB surveillance and vital registration systems was presented. The countries are recommended to implement the checklist to systematically assess their national surveillance system’s ability to accurately measure TB cases and deaths and identify gaps that must be addressed in order to improve TB surveillance. Since launched, the tool was applied in a number of East-European and Central Asian countries, in the framework of the collaboration with USAID under the regional platform, Global Fund Global Agreement and WHO/ECDC joint collaboration in Europe.
The EU/EEA revised TB surveillance objectives were found to be relevant and were approved. TB surveillance standards for EU/EEA should focus on supporting the achievement of such objectives and are in line with WHO standards as appropriate.
WHO and ECDC endorsed willingness to continue consultations with the whole surveillance network about changes in the of TB surveillance at supranational level.