News: Four countries agree to lead the way on an intersectoral approach to HIV, TB & viral hepatitis

Belarus, Georgia, Portugal and Tajikistan have agreed to lead the way in adopting approaches to HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis that include cooperation with sectors outside of health care.

This pilot initiative follows the 2018 launch of the United Nations common position on ending HIV, TB and viral hepatitis through intersectoral collaboration. Signed by 14 United Nations agencies, the position discusses the social, economic and environmental determinants of HIV, TB and viral hepatitis, and how needs can be met through action in areas outside the health sector.

According to an update from the World Health Organization (WHO), the social sector, government, and civil society are already collaborating with the health system in the response to the three epidemics in Belarus, Georgia, Portugal and Tajikistan. Partnerships involve the provision of financial, nutritional or social support to patients and their families, for example.

The update explains that the WHO and its collaborators have mapped multisectoral initiatives that are ongoing, and have made recommendations for tackling challenges presented by HIV, TB and viral hepatitis through cooperation across sectors. These recommendations include working toward the integration of previously vertical programs on HIV, TB and viral hepatitis.

While integrated approaches to screening could minimize barriers for patients and maximize efficiencies for health services, special care should be taken to offer early and thorough health education about relevant health conditions well in advance of screening. For more on pre-screening counselling, see our Counselling section.

Read the full update on the WHO website.

To read about an example of integrated hepatitis C and TB screening, see Dr. Hassaan Zahid’s post from Pakistan, “Sea Breeze from the South: A mobile screening van in Karachi”.

Image “Using artificial intelligence software to autoscreen for TB” by Dr. Hassaan Zahid, used with permission.

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