29 OCTOBER 2015.

A million new TB cases a year in Indonesia as tuberculosis overtakes HIV as leading infectious killer in the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) global tuberculosis report has revealed TB is now the leading infectious killer in the world, outstripping HIV/AIDS.

RESULTS International Australia CEO Maree Nutt said the global fight against TB needs to be stepped up, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

WHO reported revised estimates for Indonesia (1 million new cases a year, double the previous estimate) Indonesia now has 10 per cent of global TB sufferers. Of the 9.6 million new TB cases in 2014, 58 per cent were in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.

“We need a concerted effort to fight tuberculosis, particularly in poorer countries in our region because the WHO has revealed TB is a bigger problem than previously thought,” Ms Nutt said.

“New estimates of the numbers of people with TB in Indonesia, South-East Asia and the Pacific are particularly concerning,” she said.

The WHO has also revealed the incidence of multi-drug resistant TB cases globally has also reached alarming levels.

Ms Nutt said it was important for governments to recognise the need to adequately fund TB treatment and surveillance programs. RESULTS is supporting efforts by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria to raise funds to continue the global fight against disease.

“We recognise that the Australian Government has made commitments to fund TB eradication programs in our region but the scale of the problem revealed by the latest WHO report shows how much more work the international community needs to do to bring tuberculosis under control,” Ms Nutt said.

Ms Nutt said it was a positive step forward that the Australian Parliament had established a TB Caucus led by Warren Entsch and Matt Thistlethwaite.

The WHO Global TB Report is available here.