01 September, Sydney, Australia - Parliamentarians from the Asia Pacific formed the Asia Pacific TB Caucus today, at an historic meeting in Sydney, Australia, to drive progress against this intractable disease. This is the first parliamentary network of its type in the region.
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 regional network under the Global TB Caucus.Without swift action, drug-resistant TB will claim the lives of an additional 40 million people in the region over the next 35 years, and significantly drive down economic growth.
"The Caucus is founded in the principle that by working together across political and geographical divides, parliamentarians can drive significant change," said Australian parliamentarian Warren Entsch MP, co-chair of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus.
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 mobilise the resources to more effectively tackle 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.
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.
"It is impressive to be part of the launch of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus and to feel the energy and passion the Parliamentarians in Sydney bring to the TB cause', said Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. 'If we want to achieve the Global Plan targets for 2016-2020 and ultimately end TB, we need to change the way we approach TB and ensure that political leaders and stakeholders are partners in our fight. The Stop TB Partnership are here to help make this happen and support the work for Parliamentarians".