The representative of Ukraine in the Parliamentary Assembly Serhii Kiral during the PACE spring session of April 23-27 has spoken about drug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe. This was reported on the PACE website where the meeting is broadcasted.
According to the report, the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the process by which bacteria evolve to become resistant to medicines used to treat the infections they cause, thus rendering these medicines ineffective. In an introductory memorandum presented in April 2017, I stressed that tuberculosis was at the origin of one third of deaths from AMR worldwide, and that Europe was home to the world’s fastest growing drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) epidemic. In September 2017, the committee held a hearing with the participation of a former TB patient from Ukraine, Ms Olga Klymenko, experts from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Global TB Caucus.3 The hearing revealed the true magnitude of the suffering caused by the disease and in particular its social, economic and psychological impact on patients. In December 2017, in view of the increasing political exposure in recent and upcoming years of the fight against TB (see below) and Europe’s particularly high disease burden with regard to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), I proposed focusing on drug-resistant TB in the report, which the committee ultimately agreed to.
"In preparing the report, I carried out fact-finding visits to Azerbaijan and Norway, where I held meetings with a range of stakeholders working in the national TB response, including parliamentarians, government and civil society representatives, and medical experts. These visits allowed me to grasp how these two countries with very different levels of TB incidence are addressing this issue and to identify some best practices. I should like to thank all the parties involved in the discussions for their valuable contributions, and the delegations of both parliaments and their secretariats for the excellent organisation of my visits," he said.
Serhii Kiral thanked Norwegian and Azerbaijani delegations for the support.
"Some difficulties also result from the geopolitical context. For example, just a small number of TB patients in Ukraine can currently access the above-mentioned two drugs because the regional distributor authorised to request their registration and supply is a Russian-owned company. The sanctions put in place since the Russian aggression prohibit the procurement of goods and services from Russia paid for by public funds, including for foreign goods supplied through Russian companies. Despite efforts by the Ukrainian authorities, who have approached the relevant pharmaceutical companies requesting them to change their distributor, the problem has not yet been solved, leading to an unacceptable delay for TB patients in Ukraine," the report also stated.
As it was reported earlier, the PACE has approved the resolution about counteracting the hybrid war. Volodymyr Ariev, the head of the Ukrainian delegation in the Assembly said.
The document says that currently, states more and more frequently face the 'signs of hybrid war', which 'creates a new kind of threat based on the mixture of military and non-military means, such as cyber attacks, campaigns of mass misinformation, including fake news and communications disruption'.