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New call to tackle tuberculosis throughout the resources of the G20

Call To Action urges G20 member countries and partners to mobilize adequate resources to close the TB funding gap and save lives.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Public Health Image Library, NIAID, Image ID: 18139)
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Public Health Image Library, NIAID, Image ID: 18139)

Call To Action urges G20 member countries and partners to mobilize adequate resources to close the TB funding gap and save lives.

A new ‘Call to Action on Financing for Tuberculosis Response’ has been developed by the Indonesian G20 Presidency. This was the key outcome from the 2nd Health Ministers and Health Deputies Meeting (which took place between October 26-28th 2022).

The resultant document calls on G20 member countries to increase funding for tuberculosis. This is seen as necessary in order to prevent millions from dying or becoming ill from the bacteria disease.

Tuberculosis is one of the most widespread bacterial diseases on the planet. It is an infection that has plagued humans for over millennia. TB is an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs, although it can affect almost any part of the body. TB is not easily caught – you have to be in fairly prolonged close contact with someone with TB (for example, living in the same household). However, a common means for spreading an infection is from living in overcrowded conditions.

The Stop TB Partnership, who collaborated in the drafting of the document, have congratulated Indonesia on its leadership on TB during its G20 Presidency:

“The 13 items outlined in the Call to Action on Financing for TB urge countries to mobilize resources for unmet needs, including accelerating development and availability of new TB diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines, utilizing real-time data surveillance and digital health, and strengthening infection prevention and control activities. Leaders also profess support in strengthening international ties and forging partnerships to sustainably finance rights-based, gender sensitive and multisectoral approaches for policies and service delivery innovations.”

Taking action is especially important following the COVID-19 pandemic. The years of the pandemic have impacted the TB response and disrupted access to TB services throughout the world. For example, in 2021, deaths from TB increased for the second year in a row, with 1.6 million people dying from the disease.

Also in 2021, an estimated 10.6 million people fell ill from TB, a 4.5 percent increase from 2020. This is likely to be an under-estimation since many people with TB are not diagnosed and treated.

One reason for targeting the G20 is because 50 percent of new infections and deaths due to TB occur in the G20 countries. Despite this, these countries possess sufficient financial capacity to tackle this epidemic. What has been lacking is the political will to do so.

The new ‘Global Plan to End TB, 2023-2030’, which has arise from the recent summit, provides costing estimates and anticipates the priority actions that will be necessary in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to get tackling the disease back on track. The global goal remains to end TB by 2030.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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