Statement at the 31st PCB under agenda item 3.0 Strategic Investment
In Europe and Central Asia, the rate of newly diagnosed HIV cases reported has more than doubled from 44 per million in 2000 to 89 per million in 2008. While access to ARV treatment in the high-income countries is nearly universal, among many of the middle and lower income countries, access is extremely low. Furthermore, there are vulnerable groups like undocumented migrants and people who use drugs, for example, in both categories of countries who lack access to prevention, treatment and care services. Tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of death of PLHIV in most countries and access to treatment for many remains limited. Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR- TB) has reached the highest levels ever recorded, particularly in the Eastern European countries. Hepatitis C (HCV) is a common comorbidity and the high cost of its treatment is contributing to a treatment crisis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia as neither governmentsʼ nor insurance schemes adequately cover HCV treatment.
There are many barriers to access in the region, yet a considerable work to be done to build political commitment, coordination and investments by governments, UN, and civil society to address these barriers. For example, while access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) in the high income countries of WHO-European region is nearly universal, it is extremely low among many of the middle and lower income countries in the region and for many most-at-risk populations throughout it. The prices of ART in most countries in the region are among the highest in the world. Strategic investment of resources is necessary to achieve equitable and universal access to high quality medical products and services. Likewise considerable investment of resources is necessary to guarantee continued innovation. It is essential that resources are used rationally and that affordability of both access and innovation be improved in order to make access to needed state-of-the-art medical products and services equitable, universal and sustainable.