The National Carillon in Canberra will light up red tonight on World Tuberculosis Day, 24 March, to stand in solidarity with the 1.5 million people who die of Tuberculosis (TB) each year. It will be one of the numerous iconic locations across Australia showing their support to end the TB pandemic.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest airborne infectious diseases, killing over 4,000 people every day. Despite being preventable and curable, TB claims 1.5 million lives every year globally and the number is expected to rise due to the inadequate diagnosis and treatment due to a lack of resources in the COVID-19 era. Even in Australia, one million people carry the bacteria and are living with Latent Tuberculosis.
Australia’s neighbours, such as Papua New Guinea, are facing immense challenges in tackling TB. The campaign group calls out to politicians and the public to act promptly and provide the support needed to save a million lives every year globally and in the neighbouring Pacific.
Local spokesperson, Results advocate David Bailey said, “As the world continues to deal with the COVID pandemic, we are shining a light on the fact TB will kill more than one million people this year and every year unless we ramp up action to wipe it out.
“Some of our nearest neighbours have the highest TB rates in the world, including Papua New Guinea which is now struggling with runaway COVID infections and a straining hospital system at the same time.
“The COVID-19 crisis means it’s more important than ever that we assist our neighbouring countries in dealing with the impacts of TB, and don’t fall behind in eradicating this disease not just in Australia but across our region,” he said.
Results International CEO Negaya Chorley said, “A huge thank you to Canberra for showing their support for World TB Day and the millions affected by this terrible disease.
“Over the last two years, we’ve seen an incredible global effort to tackle COVID-19 and in record time we have developed a number of effective vaccines, diagnostics and improved treatments and outcomes.
“Now it’s time we came together in a similar effort to eradicate TB globally.
The global TB response is underfunded by at least US$9 billion. More than half the money pledged by world leaders to fight the epidemic at the UN in 2018 has not been delivered.
Results Australia says ahead of the Federal Election both major parties should lift their 2019 pledge of $242 million at the Sixth Replenishment of the Global Fund to $450 million at the upcoming Seventh Replenishment.
The Global Fund provided 77% of all international financing for tuberculosis in 2020. Importantly the Global Fund targets resources to where the need is greatest, meaning Australia’s own contribution would likely be spent in its own neighbourhood.
Ms Chorley said, “To fight TB on our doorstep, Australia should lift its commitment to the Global Fund by pledging $450 million.”