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Improving health security in the Pacific

Today I announce that Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the World Bank have agreed to a new health security initiative to address multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
The Australian Government will contribute approximately $20 million in grant funding to the Emergency Tuberculosis Project, building on our long-term commitment to fighting MDR-TB in Papua New Guinea.
This new initiative will provide additional international expertise and finance to help deliver treatment and prevention services to vulnerable communities across Papua New Guinea. The Project will also strengthen aspects of PNG’s health security system including laboratory testing and technical and managerial training for health workers.
With PNG only four kilometres from Northern Australia at its nearest point, failure to address TB in PNG puts Australia’s health security at risk.
In addition to Australia’s contribution to the Project, the World Bank will provide a further $20 million in the form of a concessional loan.
With approximately 30,000 new cases a year, Papua New Guinea has the highest rates of TB and MDR-TB in the Western Pacific. TB causes more deaths than any other infectious disease in Papua New Guinea.
Australia’s ongoing support for treating tuberculosis in PNG has achieved significant results to date. Completion of treatment for TB patients in Western Province’s capital of Daru has increased from only 65 per cent in 2014 to more than 95 per cent in 2016.
This support for TB programs complements Australia’s existing commitment of $220 million to the Fifth Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (2017-19). Results achieved through the Global Fund in Papua New Guinea include the detection and treatment of over 33,000 cases of TB.
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