Unique gathering of TB and HIV experts in Scheveningen

Biennial Wolfheze Workshops focuses on alarming tandem of infectious diseases

THE HAGUE, 15 May 2019

International experts in the field of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV control meet today in Scheveningen (Netherlands) during the Wolfheze Workshops. The alarming TB/HIV tandem in the European region calls for a stepped-up joint approach to combating these infectious diseases. KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and co-organizers, the World Health Organization (WHO/Europe) and the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) emphasize urgency and aim for concrete steps forward.

TB is the deadliest infectious disease in the world, causing 1.6 million deaths every year. The most recent ECDC/WHO European Region data show that in 2017 275,000 people in the European region were diagnosed with TB. The WHO/Europe estimates that 27,000 of them are also infected with HIV. “Unfortunately, TB and HIV go hand in hand: people with HIV run a much higher risk of developing TB and TB is the leading cause of death among people with HIV,” says Kitty van Weezenbeek, executive director of KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. However in many countries there is insufficient progress in combating TB and HIV. The meeting in Scheveningen is aimed at concrete plans to strengthen the collaboration between stakeholders.

The Dutch KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation is the world’s leading TB expert organization. An integrated, patient-oriented approach to TB/HIV care has been one of its focus areas for more than fifteen years. Van Weezenbeek: “Our projects have shown that effective collaboration allows us to identify more people with TB and HIV, to treat them more effectively and also to help reduce stigma. We need to make this the norm across the world.”

In September 2018, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation convened the leading actors in the TB and HIV responsa at a TB/HIV breakfast session prior to the first United Nations High-Level Meeting in New York on TB. In Scheveningen the conversation will continue during the opening day of the Wolfheze Workshops. Tomorrow and Friday the focus is entirely on TB control in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia with the theme ‘translating the TB UN High-Level Meeting commitments into actions’. A total of 150 experts from 31 countries are present at the various sessions.

Wolfheze Workshops

In 1990 KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation organized a workshop in Wolfheze (Netherlands) where experts discussed the necessary interventions to eliminate TB in Europe. The biennial event continued to hold the name and the spirit of the first ‘Wolfheze Workshop’ over the past three decades. This year it will take place at the Bilderberg Europa Hotel in Scheveningen (15 till 17 May).