The Ministers of Health (MOH) from BRICS countries met in December 2014 to discuss and plan strategies and systems to share health data between the five major emerging economies.

BRICS countries share similar challenges to their health care systems including HIV/AIDS, TB, NCDs and the task of assisting West African countries with Ebola. Other commonalities are escalating healthcare costs, inequitable access to health services and a growing burden from communicable diseases.

The MOH created a workgroup to facilitate their collaboration and develop a unified strategy to address these issues. The first stipulated deadline for completion of the strategy was set for the end of June 2015. Top priorities for the MOH include securing finance for the TB disease burden, pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, scientific research, and innovations for diagnostics and treatment.

Collectively, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) total 46% of the world’s TB cases. MOH made a commitment to give all people with TB, access to first-line TB medicines in line with their 90-90-90 TB target, meaning a target of 90% for TB screening of vulnerable groups, a 90% rate of diagnosis and a 90% treatment success rate.

The MOH also acknowledged the role of the UNAIDS target to end the AIDS epidemic and discussed access to pharmaceuticals and its influence on healthcare budgets related to HIV and NCDs. Lastly, the MOH declared their commitment to helping prevent and control the spread of Ebola and assist with surveillance, diagnostic technologies and workforce training.

The next BRICS MOH meeting will take place in Russia later this year.

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