THE Foreign Minister announced today a three-year assistance package to aid in the control of tuberculosis in Papua New Guinea.
“PNG has the highest rate of TB infection in the Pacific, with an estimated 39,000 total cases and 25,000 new infections each year. The additional $15 million in funding will bring Australia’s support for TB control in PNG to $60 million by 2016-17,” the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
Samuel Butcher, Oaktree’s Communications Director, said that “this package will be incredibly beneficial to the people of Papua New Guinea, one of our closest neighbours in the region.”
One of the eight Millenium Development Goals devised by the World Bank in 2001 was to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases, of which TB is included.
Despite being on course to halve the number of tuberculosis mortalities before the 2015 deadline for the MDGs an estimated 9 million people still contracted TB in 2013.
Last year there were ten cases of tuberculosis in the Torres Strait region of Australia, only four kilometres away from PNG.
“22 billion lives have been saved in the fight against tuberculosis since 1995 by interventions like this, but it is important to remember just how many more lives could be saved without the $11.3 billion of cuts to Australia’s aid budget just last year,” Samuel said.
Oaktree partners with two local organisations in Papua New Guinea that provide educational and rehabilitative assistance to young people in need – Baptist Union Papua New Guinea and City Mission.
For more information about Oaktree and its campaigns visit www.oaktree.org.
Image Source: Tuberculosis patient in Daru hospital in PNG (abc.net.au)