The Australian TB Caucus met this week in Canberra to discuss the historic United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on tuberculosis (TB), held in September 2018 in New York, where Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed Australia’s support to the global fight against TB.

Key Targets of the UN HLM

At the meeting, Amelia Christie, RESULTS CEO and Shiva Shreshta, RESULTS Global Health Campaigns Manager discussed the key targets of the UNHLM on TB, which were to commit to provide diagnosis and successfully treat:

  • 40 million people with TB by 2022.
  • 3.5 million children with TB by 2022.
  • 1.5 million people with drug resistant TB, including 115,000 children with drug-resistant TB by 2022.
  • Commit to prevent TB for those most at risk of falling ill so that at least 30 million people, including four million children under five years of age, 20 million other household contacts and six million people living with HIV receive preventative treatment by 2022.

Alongside the key targets of the UNHLM on TB, the targets that Australia should work towards, were outlined in this week’s TB Caucus Meeting. These were originally provided by the STOP TB Partnership, and include:

  • 7,700 people with TB to be diagnosed and treated by 2022.
  • 13,800 people with TB to receive preventative treatment by 2022.

If 40 million people are diagnosed and treated by 2022, the world will be on track to end TB by 2030. To achieve this target, all countries must deliver their share, according to the World Health Organization.

What the Australian Government can do

The TB Caucus discussed the following suggested activities for the Australian government to undertake:

  • Develop and publish guidelines on how the government will deliver its share of global targets and establish a cross-government working group to monitor and evaluate the progress made.
  • Contribute 0.1 per cent of Australia’s annual spending on Research & Development (R&D) to be put towards the development of new drugs and vaccines to combat tuberculosis. Australia spent just over $9.5 million in 2017. The Australian TB Caucus is advocating that Australia contributes a fairer share, with a suggested annual target of $21 million being proposed.
  • Pledge generously to the Global Replenishment Fund next year – $220 million was pledged three years ago. A target of $300 million to the Global Fund against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria was put forward.
  • Ensure that TB remains on the agenda of the Heads of Government around the world, particularly when they meet together for key summits over the next year.