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Australia: committed to fighting tuberculosis

As part of our role in combating tuberculosis in the Asia Pacific region, I am pleased to announce an increase in Australia's core contribution to the World Health Organisation's Global Tuberculosis Programme (WHO GTB) to $550 000 for this financial year.

Health has always been a priority in Australia's overseas aid program. With the re- - emergence of tuberculosis as a major health issue for many developing countries, it is important that Australia assists other countries, particularly its closest neighbours, in managing and controlling the disease.

The GTB is the most significant operation addressing tuberculosis control on a global level. The Australian Government has provided $1.165 million to the GTB since 1994/95. These funds play an important role in establishing comprehensive treatment and prevention programs in South East Asia and the Western Pacific.

In addition to core contributions to GTB, the Australian Government, through AusAID, the Australian Agency for International Development, funds a range of other projects which directly or indirectly contribute to tuberculosis control:

. WHO Global Programme on Vaccines

. GTB drug resistance surveillance in Asia Pacific countries

. WHO Action Program on Essential Drugs

. UNAIDS WHO tuberculosis specialist working on Indonesia's National Tuberculosis Program

. Cambodia's Expanded Programme of Immunisation and Maternal and Child Health Mindanao Maternal and Child Health (MMCH) and the Urban Health and Nutrition Project (UHNP) in the Philippines

AusAID is also funding the WHO Inter-regional Training Workshop and Strategic Planning Meeting currently being held at the University of New South Wales. Coordinated by the School of Medical Education of the UNSW, the workshop and meeting is bringing together health officials from a range of Asia Pacific countries, and will be instrumental in formulating a coordinated regional approach to combating tuberculosis.

Media Contacts:

David Alexander, Mr Thomson's Office, 06 277 4665

Jane Castles, AusAID, 06 206 4968