MINSK, Belarus - Health ministers from Eastern Europe and Central Asia adopted a Consensus Statement "HIV and TB treatment for all" on expanded and rapidly scaled-up access to affordable, quality-assured antiretroviral and TB drugs at the conclusion of the two-day Regional Consultation in Minsk, Belarus.
The countries committed to strengthen regional cooperation in order to advance access to affordable and quality medicines and deliver more cost-effective, equitable and sustainable solutions for common challenges by intensifying efforts through regional solidarity, shared responsibility and political leadership.
"Undoubtedly, the adoption of the Minsk Statement is a guarantee of our countries' openness and readiness to share experience and work together in achieving sustainable development and commitments to the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and WHO TB Plan in Eastern Europe for 2016-2020," said Vasiliy Zharko, Minister of Health of Belarus.
Representatives from 12 Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) countries' ministries of health - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan - endorsed the statement.
"It is a historical moment in the regional HIV and TB response," said Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS. "By joining the Minsk Statement EECA countries reaffirmed their commitment to the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: On the Fast-Track to Accelerate the Fight against HIV and to End the AIDS Epidemic by 2030."
The statement underlines that countries are ready to utilize all available tools to reduce the price of lifesaving drugs, including revision of procurement arrangements, such as international and pooled procurement, third-party consultation and price negotiation with generic suppliers of antiretroviral therapy and TB treatment; addressing intellectual property issues and their alignment with national legislation; and supporting local manufacture of drugs and optimizing drug regimens in line with WHO recommendations.
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