The Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Union Against TB & Lung Disease will give Australia the chance to showcase its resources and appetite for the fight against tuberculosis, according to Burnet researcher Dr Suman Majumdar.
The theme of the conference, to be held in in Sydney from 31 August to 2 September, is to reduce the burden of TB and lung disease in our region by increasing the number of regional partnerships and expanding existing partnerships.
“The Union Asia-Pacific Conference is the largest gathering of TB experts, clinicians and researchers we’ve had in Australia, and it’s one of the largest regional conferences,” Dr Majumdar, an infectious diseases physician in the Centre for International Health, said.
“It highlights the importance of TB as a global health issue and the need to respond. It’s great to see that Australia is taking a leading role in our region, including support from the Australian Government.”
Burnet will play a leading role at the conference through its support for the TB Forum and presentations by Dr Majumdar and Professor Steve Graham.
Dr Majumdar will discuss the role of non-government organisations in TB control, while Professor Graham, a Burnet Senior Principal Research Fellow, will address the burden of childhood TB.
The TB Forum is facilitating a discussion for conference delegates on the theme,
‘Ending the TB Epidemic in Asia and the Pacific: Would a Regional Response Make a Difference?’.
“The TB Forum is a new group that’s been established and launched with a goal to end the TB epidemic in the Asia-Pacific Region,” Dr Majumdar said.
“It’s a collaborative network of policy-makers, health workers, researchers, people affected by TB and advocates working to end the TB epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It aims to share knowledge, foster networks, provide leadership and work in partnership with the Australian Government to step up the regional TB response.”
Dr Majumdar said Burnet recognises that TB is one of the most significant health issues affecting the Asia-Pacific Region.
He singled out the RID TB Project in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea as especially important because of the drug-resistant nature of the TB that’s occurring there.
“TB is a threat to health security in PNG and the region,” Dr Majumdar said.
“Continued investment in delivering effective programs that focus on diagnosing and treating patients is needed along with strategies to strengthen health systems in the long term.
“The key solution is to build capacity in the local systems and response, but also to apply the best available global knowledge and practice, and that’s where Burnet comes in.
“We value our strong partnership with the Western Province Health Office and the Governments of PNG and Australia.
“Infectious diseases such as TB flourish where inequity is greatest, affecting the most poor and vulnerable who often don’t have a voice.
“The region and the world cannot afford to be complacent with TB any longer. It is a curable disease.”