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Federal Government Allocates $17 Million to Combat Tuberculosis in Asia-Pacific

Results International’s Negaya Chorley emphasized that increased funding is crucial for the elimination of tuberculosis.

Australia’s federal government has pledged $17 million to help combat the spread of tuberculosis in Asia and the Pacific region, where the disease claims a life every 20 seconds.

The Global Alliance for Tuberculosis (TB), comprising national health agencies and technology funds like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to reduce TB-related deaths. The disease is widespread in Asia and the Pacific due to limited access to healthcare, poverty, overcrowding, co-infection, and malnutrition.

Indonesia and the Philippines have high TB burden, while Australia records 1,500 infections annually. Recent cases in some Aboriginal communities in South Australia highlight the need for coordinated public health responses.

Despite the rise in TB diagnoses during COVID-19, funding for TB control is at half of pre-2019 levels. Drug-resistant variants further complicate treatment in countries like Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, and Cambodia.

Health organizations advocate for increased funding to combat TB and predict a $40 return for every dollar invested in TB drug development by 2050. Foreign Minister Penny Wong emphasized the government’s commitment to enhancing lives in impoverished regions.

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Results International Group CEO Negaya Chorley stressed the significance of increased funding, stating that progress in Asia and the Pacific demonstrates the positive impact of dedicated resources and investments from Australia. Achieving the goal of ending TB by 2030 is feasible with continued support and investments. The government’s announcement coincides with World Tuberculosis Day on March 24.

Dr. Robert Koch’s discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 1882 led to the recognition of World Tuberculosis Day. Landmarks around the globe are encouraged to illuminate in red to raise awareness of TB. Results International forecasts a significant return on investment in TB drug development by 2050.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong highlighted the government’s commitment to reducing infection rates and improving the well-being of communities in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

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