Australia Steps Up in the fight to end TB at the United Nations High-Level Meeting.

The political declaration approved by members of the United Nations at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on Tuberculosis in New York overnight was a significant moment in the global fight against TB – the world’s most deadly infectious disease.

The Hon Warren Entsch MP, Co-Chair of the Australian TB Caucus (ATBC), explains the significance of the UNHLM and why the resolution signed on Australia’s behalf by Foreign Minister, The Hon Marise Payne, so significant.

“TB is often referred to as Ebola with wings. It killed 1.6 million people in 2017 – more than any infectious disease. “According to the WHO Global TB Report TB takes more than 3000 lives every day in the Asia Pacific region, which bears 62% of the global TB burden. Foreign Minister Payne’s attendance and statement on TB show that Australia is committed to ending the scourge of TB and taking a leadership role in our region’s fight against the disease. This is a historic declaration that makes the world’s nations accountable for the promises they have made,” said the Hon Warren Entsch MP, Co-Chair of the Australian TB Caucus.

Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement reaffirming Australia’s commitment to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and highlighted the steps already taken by Australia in the global fight against TB.

Senator Lisa Singh, Co-Chair of the Australian TB Caucus, stated that the UNHLM was only the first step in the efforts in reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal, especially Goal 3 of defeating TB by 2030.

“The commitments that have just been made in New York are just the beginning,” said Senator Singh. “They must be backed by a clear roadmap with the steps still to be taken, including increased funding for research and development, improved accountability mechanisms, better access to diagnosis and treatment of TB patients and systematic regional collaboration on TB,” the Senator said.

“It is not a matter of just doing one thing. We need to ensure TB is fought from all directions in order to win the battle against it and we look forward to Australia being an active participant in all areas of the fight,” added Mr Entsch.

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The Australian TB Caucus is a group of Australian federal parliamentarians committed to raising awareness of tuberculosis among their parliamentary colleagues and to securing Australian support for ending the global TB epidemic. The Secretariat of the Australian TB Caucus is hosted by RESULTS International (Australia).