Tuberculosis and Other Diseases

We have known how to cure TB for more than 50 years. What we have lacked is the will and the resources to quickly diagnose people with TB and get them the treatment they need.” – Nelson Mandela

Goal 3 in the Sustainable Development Goals (Good Health and Well-Being) includes the following target:  By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

Tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS kill close to 3 million people per year. Almost all of them are poor.

Quick facts

  • TB places an extraordinary economic burden on communities and traps people in poverty.
  • It is estimated TB will rob the world’s poorest countries of an estimated USD $1 to $3 trillion over the next 10 years.
  • The Asia Pacific region has 58 per cent of global TB cases.
  • There were 6.1 million new cases of TB in 2015.
  • 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015.
  • TB is responsible for 1 in 3 deaths of people with HIV, making it the biggest killer of people living with HIV.
  • In 2014, 36.9 million people were living with HIV worldwide, including 5 million in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • 1 million people died from HIV in 2016.
  • An estimated 214 million people were infected with malaria in 2015, including 25 million in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Malaria accounted for an estimated 438,000 deaths in 2015, including 40,000 in the Asia-Pacific region.

( all figures are estimates from The World Health Organisation)

Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and treatable disease which claims 1.5 million lives per year around the world. It is an infectious disease caused by bacteria attacking the lungs and is spread through the the air. It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population has latent TB.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 6.1 million new cases of TB occurred in 2015, including 1.1 million cases where patients also have HIV. 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015. Approximately  half of the world’s new TB cases occur in the Asia Pacific region.

TB can be cured by taking drugs, but failure to take the correct and full course can result in drug resistant TB (DR-TB).

This means that drugs to treat TB are becoming increasingly obsolete due to drug resistance. The vaccine against TB infection available currently is not very effective and the most commonly used diagnostic is 125 years old and only detects around 50% of cases.

This is why investment in research and development for new TB diagnostics and treatment is essential. We need to get better at identifying all cases of TB and making treatment for TB more accessible and effective. More research is also needed for HIV as none of the currently available treatments is a cure for HIV. We also need to develop more effective malaria drugs and vaccines.

RESULTS Australia works with national and international partners to promote action on this. Our aim is to reduce the toll from tuberculosis and other killer diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, and ultimately see the demise of these killer diseases.

RESULTS advocate for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a partnership that works in more than 140 countries, accelerating the end of AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics.

RESULTS Australia also hosts the Australian TB Caucus.