Parliamentarians from seven countries formed the Asia Pacific TB Caucus at an historic meeting held this week in conjunction with the 5th Conference of The Union Asia Pacific Region in Sydney, Australia. Delegates from India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia formed the first parliamentary regional network under the Global TB Caucus established in 2014.
With some 60 per cent of the world’s cases occurring in the region, tuberculosis is a critical public health issue for the Asia Pacific. Members vowed to take action, both collectively and individually, to drive progress against TB by working with governments, and regional and global organisations to build support for policies and mobilise resources to more effectively tackling the disease.
“The Caucus is founded in the principle that by working together across political and geographical divides, parliamentarians can drive significant change,” said Australian Member of Parliament Warren Entsch, co-chair of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus.
A priority of the Caucus will be supporting patients and vulnerable groups and helping to lift the burden of stigma from TB patients and their families, as outlined in the Stop TB Partnership’s Global TB Plan 2016-2020 and the End TB strategy 2016-2035.
While meeting in Sydney, the parliamentarians met with The Hon Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, at The Union APR conference and learned about the latest research and developments, including new, simpler child-friendly TB medicines, designed to improve treatment and help stop child mortality from TB.
This first meeting of the Caucus was coordinated by RESULTS International Australia.
Inaugural members of the Asia Pacific TB Caucus include:
The Hon Warren Entsch MP, Dr Andrew Southcott MP, Senator Lisa Singh, The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Ms Sharon Claydon MP (all from Australia); Representative The Hon. Angelina Tan MD (Philippines); Ms Louisa Wall MP, (New Zealand); The Hon. Aide Ganasi MP (Papua New Guinea); Dr Nguyen Van Tien (Vietnam); Ms Okky Asokawati MP (Indonesia); and Mr Kalikesh N Singh Deo MP (India).
The AP TB Caucus is open to membership of other politicians in the Asia Pacific who are passionate about ending TB.
The next meeting of the Global TB Caucus will be in Cape Town, South Africa on 30 November–1 December 2015 in conjunction with the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health. Learn more: http://www.globaltbcaucus.org/
Join the 83 countries that have signed the Barcelona Declaration to End TB: http://www.globaltbcaucus.org/#!declaration/c1n8o