Preparatory work to date
To raise the profile of MDR-TB, several meetings have already been held in 2008 with officials from ministries of health and national TB programmes. These meetings included: high MDR-TB burden countries at the Union's World Conference on Lung Health in Paris, France, in October; Central Asian countries in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in November; and South-East Asian countries in Male, Maldives, in December.
A strategic discussion on TB was held at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria board meeting in New Delhi, India, in November. The board's conclusions included a request to countries to ensure that sufficiently ambitious proposals were presented to the Global Fund to address MDR-TB in the upcoming rounds.
Also in Paris in October 2008, the members and networks that make up the Stop TB Partnership were alerted to the upcoming ministerial meeting and many are now working with countries to prepare for it, including assisting in the process of developing MDR-TB strategic plans.
The Stop TB Partnership is organizing high level missions to specific countries with a significant MDR-TB problem. The first of these took place to India around the Global Fund Board meeting, led by Jorge Sampaio the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy to Stop TB and the former President of Portugal. The delegation met with the Minister of Health to discuss India's needs. Discussions continue with a number of other countries, including Azerbaijan and South Africa on potential missions.