TUBERCULOSIS poses an intolerable burden of ill health across the nations of the Asia-Pacific, with nearly five million women, men and children falling ill in our region every year, despite our ability to cure it.
Next week there is an unprecedented opportunity to access key regional advocates, politicians, experts and former tuberculosis patients as they gather in Sydney to consider ways to reduce the burden of TB, and how regional partnerships can help address this intractable disease.
At the Asia Pacific TB Parliamentary Caucus, on August 31 and September 1, 2015, parliamentarians from Australia, the UK, India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, PNG and New Zealand, will consider how best to build regional support for addressing TB.
The meeting is being held alongside the Asia Pacific TB Union Conference where leading researchers and clinicians in TB and lung disease will showcase up-to-date information about TB in the Asia Pacific, and the opportunities for regional collaboration.
The Asia Pacific TB Parliamentary Caucus, is being hosted by Warren Entsch, Federal Member for Leichardt, Queensland and organised by RESULTS International Australia.
“TB is an unacceptable driver of mortality across the Asia-Pacific, claiming 600,000 lives every year, “ said Maree Nutt, Chief Executive Officer of RESULTS International Australia
“Multi drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), called Ebola with wings, takes two years to treat and is spreading due to inadequate treatment. Without cooperative and decisive action, the disease could claim the lives of 40 million more people across the region in the next 35 years.”
Filipino TB survivor and disability advocate, Eloisa ‘Louie’ Zepeda, will attend the meeting. At 25, Louie’s life was devastated by MDR-TB meningitis when she was an up and coming architect in Manila. While was eventually cured of the disease, the treatment has left her blind.
“The voices and experiences of patients who battle the disease are too often overlooked.” Ms Nutt said. “Without first eliminating the stigma and marginalisation around the disease we cannot eliminate the disease itself,” Louie said.
Source: RESULTS International (Australia)
Image Source: An Indian doctor examines a tuberculosis patient in a government TB hospital on World Tuberculosis Day in Allahabad, India, Monday, March 24, 2014. India has the highest incidence of TB in the world, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2013, with as many as 2.4 million cases. India saw the greatest increase in multidrug-resistant TB between 2011 and 2012. The disease kills about 300,000 people every year in the country. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)