High-level Working Group on HIV established in Russia
On 20 April 2017, the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and WHO officially established the High-level Working Group on HIV (HLWG/HIV). HIV is one of the key public health priorities in the Russian Federation, where the number of new infections is increasing. The accumulated number of registered people living with HIV reported by the Ministry of Health has more than doubled since 2005, and reached over 824 700 in 2016. Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, and Her Excellency Dr Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Health, commissioned the HLWG/HIV.
The HLWG/HIV will function as a dynamic mechanism and a platform for national and international experts to exchange knowledge and experience about effective interventions to address HIV. Thematic working groups will be established under the auspices of the HLWG/HIV to review evidence and best practices. Results from these reviews will be endorsed by the HLWG/HIV and presented to the Ministry of Health for further decisions.
The first meeting of the HLWG/HIV was attended by Dr Serghey Kraeyevov, Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Melita Vujnovic, WHO Representative, Dr Masoud Dara, Coordinator for Communicable Diseases at WHO/Europe, and Dr Meg Doherty, Coordinator for HIV Treatment and Care at WHO headquarters, as well as senior directors from the Ministry of Health and other WHO staff. At the meeting, participants reviewed the key priorities of the HLWG/HIV for 2017–2018.
The new working group is based on the successful model of the High-level Working Group on Tuberculosis. Despite challenges, the Russian Federation has managed to decrease the tuberculosis burden significantly over the last 5 years. It plans to host the Global Ministerial Conference on Tuberculosis in November 2017.