Media Release – $13 million to combat tuberculosis in our region…

Treating Multi Drug Resistant TB

(Image courtesy of The Global Fund – treatment for Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis)

Media Release – Wednesday August 7, 2019

$13 MILLION TO COMBAT TUBERCULOSIS IN THE ASIA PACIFIC REGION

Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Greg Hunt, Federal Minister for Health have announced a $13 million commitment to help support global efforts in eradicating tuberculosis, one of the world’s most dangerous diseases. This will go towards detecting and treating cases in our region, as well as research and development into drug resistant TB.

“Our Government investment will help control and eliminate tuberculosis (TB) in the South East Asia and Pacific region, a communicable disease that can cross borders, seas and continents.”

“TB is the world’s most common cause of death from a single infectious disease, and the tenth most common cause of death worldwide,” the government statement declares.

Each year, around 10 million people fall sick with TB, with nearly 60 per cent of new cases each year occurring in the Indo-Pacific region. It is the top infectious killer worldwide and is the leading cause of deaths among people with HIV and is a major cause of antimicrobial resistance related deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

In 2017, of the 10 million new TB cases worldwide, 5.8 million were men, 3.2 million were women and 1 million were children. People living with HIV accounted for nine per cent of the total.

Incidence of TB in our closest neighbours

In Papua New Guinea, tuberculosis is the leading cause of hospitalisation and death. In 2017, 2,000 new cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis were recorded throughout the Pacific island nation.

Importantly, the federal government will provide $5 million as part of the initiative to “support intensive TB detection and treatment under Australia’s Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region.”

“We will help build a skilled workforce to detect the disease, improve the quality of TB surveillance, make sure people stick to their treatment and work with partner governments in the region to develop and implement evidence-based TB elimination strategies.Through the Medical Research Future Fund we will also provide $8 million to fund anti-microbial resistance and drug-resistant TB research projects.”

RESULTS’ response to announcement

Amelia Christie, CEO of RESULTS Australia said: “We welcome this announcement and appreciate the focus of the monetary commitment to research on anti-microbial resistance and drug-resistant TB as well as detection and treatment. It is a good first-step towards eradicating the disease in the Indo-Pacific region of the world.”

“Minister for Health, Greg Hunt called for an end to TB in the Asia Pacific region within a decade at the Global Health Security Conference in June 2019, a goal that we at RESULTS are very supportive of. In order for this to take place, we call on the Australian Government to commit to increasing Australia’s contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the 2020 to 2022 period to $300 million and be a fundamental part of its successful replenishment.”

The projects will be undertaken by Australian universities or medical research institutes collaborating with researchers in Pacific island countries.

The initiative will “enable research on anti-microbial resistance and drug-resistant TB to:

  • develop strategies that improve outcomes for individuals and the community
  • build collaboration between Australia and Pacific island countries
  • transfer knowledge and capability to Pacific island countries to support workforce development.”

-Ends-

For more information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Amelia Christie
CEO RESULTS Australia
Phone: 0490 391 278