FIFTY buildings nationwide, including Canberra landmarks such as Old Parliament House, will turn red tomorrow (March 24) to raise awareness for Australians suffering from Tuberculosis (TB).
Last year, more than 1000 Australians required treatment for Tuberculosis, while another million carried a latent form of the virus, according to the Results Canberra Advocacy Group, who organised the campaign here in the ACT.
The campaign will also see the Royal Australian Mint and Telstra Tower light up in recognition of the infectious disease that generally affects the lungs and kills about 4000 people globally, everyday, and close to 15 million in the past decade.
Another million people will die this year and every year after unless action is ramped up to wipe out TB, says Canberra advocate David Bailey.
As the world continues to deal with covid, he says its time the spotlight is shone on the Tuberculosis “pandemic”.
“Some of our nearest neighbours have the highest TB rates in the world, including Papua New Guinea, which is now struggling with runaway covid infections and a straining hospital system at the same time,” he says.
“The COVID-19 crisis means it’s more important than ever that we assist our neighbouring countries in dealing with the impacts of TB, and don’t fall behind in eradicating this disease not just in Australia but across our region.”
Over the past year, Results International CEO Negaya Chorley says there’s been an incredible global effort to tackle COVID-19 and, in record time, there has been the development of a number of effective vaccines and diagnostics, and improved treatments and outcomes.
“Now it’s time we came together in a similar effort to eradicate TB globally,” she says.
“We’re calling on the Federal Government to increase Australia’s research and development funding for TB with a fair share target of $30 million per year, which matches the political declaration made at the UN general assembly high-level meeting on the fight against TB on September 26, 2018.
“We must also do more in the Indo-Pacific region with funding for dedicated TB services to continue during the covid crisis.
“Finally, we mustn’t forget the 1 million Australians who are estimated to be infected with latent TB, a reservoir of infection that can lead to serious disease. The Federal Government can improve their prospects by covering the cost of latent TB diagnosis under Medicare.”
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