HIV, TB concern European health officials
Leading European health officials gathered in Oslo this week to address the severe health problems, including HIV and tuberculosis, facing Russia and the Baltic nations. Vast differences in income, health care, and cases of infectious diseases remain between wealthy northwestern Europe and the former Soviet Bloc. In 2001, Estonia reported 1,470 new HIV/AIDS cases--more than nearby Finland has reported in its history, even though Finland has more than three times as many residents. In 2000, Norway reported 4.9 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people, compared with 94.6 cases in Russia, according to the World Health Organization. The meeting is scheduled to end with the adoption of a declaration that identifies two key project areas: prevention of major public health problems and promotion of social well-being. The meeting is not expected to result in the pledging of any government funds for the programs but is intended to form the framework for programs designed to help Eastern European countries reform their health systems and deal with the causes of disease outbreaks.