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Political will to beat the TB epidemic

Parliamentarians from the region have this week formed the Asia Pacific TB Caucus, at an historic meeting in Sydney, Australia, to drive progress against this intractable disease.

Some 60 percent of the world’s TB cases occur in the Asia Pacific region, where nearly five million people fall ill each year.  The continued development of drug-resistant TB is a threat to global health security.  

Delegates from India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia formed the first parliamentary regional network under the Global TB Caucus.

 “The Caucus is founded in the principle that by working together across political and geographical divides, parliamentarians can drive significant change,” said Australian Member of Parliament Warren Entsch, co-chair of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus.  

Without swift action, drug-resistant TB will claim the lives of an additional 40 million people in our region over the next 35 years, and significantly drive down economic growth.

Members of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus vowed to take action both collectively and individually to drive progress against TB by working with national parliaments, and regional and global organisations to build support for the necessary policies and to mobilise resources for more effectively tackling the disease.

The Asia Pacific TB Caucus has a priority of supporting patients and vulnerable groups and to help lift the burden of stigma from TB patients and their families as outlined in the Stop TB Partnership’s Global TB Plan 2016-2020 and the End TB strategy 2016-2035.

 “I’m passionate about tackling tuberculosis in my country and the region, which is why I have agreed to become the Caucus Co-Chair”, said Philippines’ MP Angelina Tan MD.

While meeting in Sydney, the parliamentarians met with Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at the Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Delegates heard about a major breakthrough in the development of new simpler child-friendly medicines, which are easy-to-use formulations have been designed to improve treatment and help stop child mortality from TB.

“As the coordinator of the first meeting of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus we are thrilled with the cooperation shown by the regional leaders in the fight against TB. By working together we will achieve so much more than working in isolation,” said Maree Nutt, Chief Executive Director of RESULTS International Australia.

The Asia Pacific TB Caucus inaugural members include The Hon. Warren Entsch MP, Dr Andrew Southcott MP, Senator Lisa Singh, the Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Ms Sharon Claydon MP, Australia, Representative The Hon. Angelina Tan MD, Philippines, Ms Louisa Wall MP, New Zealand, The Hon. Aide Ganasi MP, PNG, Dr Nguyen Van Tien, Vietnam, Ms Okky Asokawati MP, Indonesia, and Mr Kalikesh N. Singh Deo MP, India. The Caucus is open to membership of other politicians in the Asia Pacific who are passionate about ending TB.

 

Photos

1. Signing the charter of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus 

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Caption: Members of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus, Labour MP Louisa Wall front and centre. 

2. Members of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus meeting with Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop MP

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Caption: Members of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (centre), from left: Dr Andrew Southcott MP, Australia, Louisa Wall MP, New Zealand, The Hon. Aide Ganasi PM, PNG, Representative The Hon. Angelina Tan MD, Philippines, Dr Nguyen Van Tien, Vietnam, Right Hon Nick Herbert MP, UK (Global TB Caucus), Ms Okky Asokawati MP, Indonesia, and Mr Kalikesh N. Singh Deo MP, India.

RESULTS International (Australia) is a movement of passionate, committed everyday people.  Together we use our voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.  We advise and make requests of policy makers, guiding them towards decisions that improve access to health, education and economic opportunity to those who need it most.   RESULTS is an active member of the Australian Council for International Development and the Campaign for Australian Aid. We work with international RESULTS counterparts and is a partner of ACTION, a global health advocacy partnership.

TB in the Asia Pacific Region

  • Indonesia: TB cases and MDR-TB:  680,000 cases and 68,000 deaths from TB in 2013.  Estimated 6,800 cases of MDR-TB in 2013.
  • Philippines: TB cases and MDR-TB:  430,000 cases of TB and 27,000 deaths from TB in 2013.  Estimated 8,500 cases of MDR-TB in 2013.
  • Vietnam: TB cases and MDR-TB: 190,000 cases and 19,000 deaths from TB in 2013.  Estimated 5,100 MDR-TB cases in 2013.
  • Cambodia: TB prevalence, and MDR TB:  110,000 cases and 10,600 deaths from TB in 2013.   Estimated 510 MDR-TB cases in 2013.
  • Papua New Guinea: TB cases and MDR-TB:  32,000 TB cases and 2,800 deaths from TB in 2013.  Estimated 1,100 MDR-TB cases in 2013.

 

Media inquires: Camilla Ryberg, RESULTS International (Australia) 0435 182 567, camilla.ryberg@results.org.au

or Louisa Wall 021 227 5043

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