Moscow, November 15 2017 (PAHO/WHO)- Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne and Russian Federation Health Minister Veronika I. Skvortsova today signed an agreement to collaborate in health protection, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, response to major epidemics, and other public health areas.

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The Russian Minister and the PAHO Director are both in Moscow attending a Global Ministerial Conference on Ending TB in the Sustainable Development Era, which aims to accelerate implementation of the WHO End TB Strategy. 

The agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding between PAHO and the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, lists areas where the two can collaborate by exchanging expertise and cooperation in public health, including maternal and newborn health, mental health policy, road safety initiatives, alcohol and tobacco control policies, and nutrition and physical activity promotion.

Important communicable diseases and anti-microbial resistance are other areas within the agreement, including malaria, hepatitis, HIV, and tuberculosis, which is the theme of the ministerial conference. 

Hosted by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, the Ministerial Conference "Ending Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era: A Multisectoral Response" seeks to accelerate efforts of all WHO Member States in taking effective measures to end the global TB epidemic by 2030. 

TB carries a grave global toll having been one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015, causing 1.8 million deaths, including 0.4 million among people with HIV. In 2015, there were an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide. The public health crisis of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) continues. Although 49 million lives have been saved through global efforts since 2000, actions and investments fall far short of those needed to end the TB epidemic. Countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect, and treat TB if they are to meet the global targets. This requires multisectoral action across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PAHO's delegation also held technical meetings today at the Federal Medical-Biological Agency in Moscow with managers and directors of this institution of research and development of medical supplies and high technology innovation.