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G20 members launch call to action on tuberculosis

A TB patient

Call to Action on Financing for Tuberculosis Response to tackle the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases

Jakarta, Indonesia | Xinhua | Health ministers of the Group of 20 (G20) members launched a “Call to Action on Financing for Tuberculosis Response” to tackle the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases after COVID-19.

The launch was carried out on Thursday during the second G20 Health Ministerial Meeting held on Oct. 27-28 in Indonesia’s Bali.

“We have taken concrete actions to increase financing to combat tuberculosis (TB). We are very serious about it,” Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told a press conference on Friday.

The initiative calls on G20 members to mobilize resources to close capacity gaps, accelerate the development of new tuberculosis vaccines, and control infections.

Suvanand Sahu, deputy executive director of the Stop TB Partnership of the United Nations, said the biggest challenge to ending tuberculosis is the lack of funding, both domestically in each country and internationally.

“Because of the lack of funding, existing tools to fight tuberculosis are not reaching all those who need them and new tools are not fast-tracked through the research pipeline,” said Sahu, who was present virtually at a press conference Thursday before the opening of the meeting.

The initiative of the G20 members has great potential to pursue the world’s target to end tuberculosis by 2030, he added.

This is the first time in history that tuberculosis became a topic at the G20 meeting. It is being discussed in detail since March at the Indonesian presidency and will be continued next year under the host India.

The World Health Organization estimates that 10.6 million people will fall ill with tuberculosis worldwide in 2021, including 1.6 million who will die. About 50 percent of the global tuberculosis cases are from G20 members.

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