Tuberculosis remains the world’s top infectious killer and it’s on our doorstep

Friday October 14, 2016
Today’s release of the World Health Organisation’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2016 shows that the rate of new infections in PNG has flatlined since 2000 at around 400 cases per 100,000 people.

The report also shows that for the second year in a row, more lives have been lost to tuberculosis (TB) than to AIDS.

In 2015, there were 10.4 million new TB infections worldwide with 1.8 million people losing their lives to the disease globally.

“Some of our nearest neighbours such and Papua New Guinea and Indonesia are experiencing high rates of tuberculosis, threatening the health security of our whole region,” said Maree Nutt CEO of RESULTS Australia, a grassroots advocacy organisation.

The WHO report categorises countries based on their burden of TB, TB/HIV co-infection and drug resistant TB. Of the fourteen countries which appear on all three lists, six are in the Asia Pacific region (China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, PNG, and Thailand).

“The report shows the need for increased investment and high-level political commitment to alter this epidemic,” Ms Nutt said.

“Even with an under-funded and under-prioritized response, the World has cut TB deaths 22% since 2000. Unfortunately this is not enough to keep ahead of the curve. Imagine what could be done with some genuine investment and political commitment.”

There is currently at least a $2 billion annual funding gap for tuberculosis programs globally with the vast majority of tuberculosis funding coming from within the affected countries themselves.

“Domestic funding accounts for 87% of funding to tuberculosis. These resources remain critical to fighting the disease. However we need donors to be ambitious so that we can expand the use of new tools in the fight against TB.”

Most external funding for TB comes from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Last month, the Global Fund held its fifth replenishment conference where $12.9 billion in new resources were mobilized to fight the epidemics. It is critical that donors transform these pledges into financial contributions and work to close funding gaps.

Globally a WHO strategy is in place to fight TB, however in 2016 the resources and energy are insufficient.

“It is very clear that it is time for a serious political response to match the scale of the problem. The Stop TB Partnership Board, chaired by South African Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, recently called for a United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB. This must happen,” added Ms Nutt.


Contact: Monique McDonell, Media and Communications Manager at RESULTS Australia on 0414555653