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Bold strategies map out tuberculosis-free future

Nick Dalziel

17 April, 2019

Steve graham goroka 510x288

Professor Steve Graham at World TB Day in Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Burnet has contributed to a new Lancet Commission on tuberculosis (TB) which outlines bold new strategies to eliminate the disease by 2030.

Senior Principal Research Fellow, Professor Steve Graham was a contributor and author of the Lancet TB Commission: ‘Building a TB-Free World’.

In summary:

  • The Lancet Commission on TB outlines next steps towards elimination and highlights chronic underfunding
  • TB affects more than one-quarter of the global population and accounts for 1.6 million deaths per year
  • Eliminating TB would help vulnerable communities lift themselves out of the poverty cycle
  • Burnet researchers are implementing TB projects, building research capacity in the Asia-Pacific region, and providing training for consultants in TB-affected countries.

Professor Graham said the Commission maps out priorities in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and advocacy efforts to end TB within the next generation.

“Tuberculosis is the leading infectious killer of our time. Around one-quarter of the world’s population is infected with TB, and 1.6 million people die each year from it,” Professor Graham said.

The Commission provides critical reflection on progress to-date and a roadmap for countries and their development partners to achieve global commitments towards ending the tuberculosis epidemic.

In addition, it calls for:

  • New strategies to address TB – especially drug-resistant TB – and prioritise preventive therapy
  • Creation of an enabling environment to address social, financial, and clinical barriers to TB care and control
  • Greater investment in TB research and development
  • Increased resources to end TB.

Professor Graham said eliminating TB would help vulnerable communities lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.

“Despite the compelling economic argument that underpins the potential gains in health and development, elimination efforts are undermined by insufficient political will and chronic underfunding,” he said.

“Therefore, following on from commitments made by Heads of State in September 2018 at the first ever UN High-Level meeting on TB, this Commission emphasises the need for accountability and shared responsibility.”

Burnet is contributing to this work in the Asia-Pacific region, through implementation projects and research capacity-building in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

TB Centre for Research Excellence (TB-CRE)

Professor Graham is a Chief Investigator of the newly re-funded NHMRC TB-Centre for Research Excellence (TB-CRE) and Burnet’s TB Working Group Co-Heads, Dr Philipp du Cros and Dr Suman Majumdar are Associate Investigators.

In March the TB-CRE at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney, hosted the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office’s Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) consultancy training, with Burnet researchers providing training.

Burnet TB Team providing WHO MDR-TB training
Burnet TB researchers providing WHO MDR-TB training at the TB-CRE

Twenty five experts were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, including practical problem-solving, diplomacy and cultural competencies to ensure delivery of high-quality support and constructive communication to regional TB programs. These newly trained consultants will now be engaged and deployed in missions to provide the much-needed TB support to countries in the Western Pacific region.

Based at the Centenary Institute and led by Professor Warwick Britton, the TB-CRE brings together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers.

This clinical, laboratory, operational and epidemiological research program is designed to optimise the use of existing tools and to develop, test and implement more effective vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.

Find out more about our TB elimination strategies.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Steve Graham

Senior Principal Research Fellow

Email

steve.graham@rch.org.au

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