The Australian Government has announced a $13 million commitment to help support global efforts in eradicating one of the world’s most dangerous diseases.
Our Government’s 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 tenth most common cause of death worldwide.
The World Health Organization estimates that around 10 million people each year fall sick with TB, with nearly 60 per cent of new cases each year occurring in the Indo-Pacific region.
The health, prosperity and resilience of Australia and countries in our neighbourhood are deeply intertwined.
The Government will provide $5 million 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.
The projects will be undertaken by Australian universities or medical research institutes collaborating with researchers in Pacific island countries.
The key focus of this initiative is to 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.
The Government is committed to helping address the health and human security needs of our region to better protect the health of all our citizens.
Health is an example of how Australia and our Pacific neighbours face common challenges and benefit from working together.
Australia will make its highest ever contribution to Pacific development in 2019-2020, with an estimated $1.4 billion in development assistance to address issues of greatest concern.
Minister Hunt is this week attending the 6-8 August Pacific Health Ministers Meeting in Papeete, French Polynesia. These biennial meetings are an important opportunity to strengthen cooperation on shared health challenges in the Pacific.