You are here:

Union President calls on G20 to investment in TB active case-finding

Published on


As part of this week’s G20 Indonesia summit, The Union President and Interim Executive Director Prof Guy Marks spoke at a side event about financing the tuberculosis (TB) response.

Prof Marks stated: “We do need more investment in TB control to end TB, but we need to make sure that we invest in interventions that actually reduce the incidence of TB. We need to make sure we have a return on investment.”

Prof Guy Marks speaking at G20 side event on TB

The session, titled ‘Financing to End TB in 2030 – How the G20 Led Success Will Look’, was chaired by Adi Utarini, Professor of Public Health at the University of Gajah Mada, Indonesia.

Prof Marks focussed his speech on community-wide, symptom-agnostic, active case-finding and shared the results of a study he led in Vietnam. The study showed a reduction in prevalence and incidence of TB.

Prof Marks said: “The incidence reduction represents the people who never developed TB, who were prevented from developing TB, they never needed to be diagnosed or treated. This is the return on investment from active case-finding.”

Although the intervention was only implemented in adults, the study found that finding and treating cases of TB in the population prevented the infection of children.

Prof Marks added: “We have the evidence that, in high-burden settings for TB, community-wide, symptom-agnostic, active case-finding is effective. It produces a rapid decline in incidence and interrupts community transmission.

“We need to scale this up with operational and implementation research and investment. And I think we could start with the G20, and possibly start with some of the high-burden countries in the G20 including perhaps Indonesia.”

Championing research and innovation

Prof Marks was joined by Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General of the India Council of Medical Research, Peter Small, Medical Data and Technology Expert at Hyfe, and Prof Tjandra Yoga Aditama, Director of Postgraduate Studies at YARSI University, Indonesia.

Prof Utarini set the scene: “Limited uptake of diagnostics and new drug regimens and further slow progress in the space for research and development for new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines provided the additional challenges for TB.”

Prof Utarini called on the G20 to mobilise their resources urgently in order to eliminate TB by 2030.

Prof Utarini added: “We need to find innovative approaches to galvanise and translate political action into commitment and financing… to make faster and smarter progress that will put TB global and national achievements back on track.”

Prof Balram Bhargava declared: “Without research, India and the world are unlikely to meet End TB targets by 2030.”

Prof Bhargava shared an update on a TB vaccine study, which will be completed in 2023. If successful, he hoped the vaccine would be scaled up.

Peter Small said: “In order to bend the endemic curve downward, we need to bend the innovation curve upward.”

Prof Aditama added: “According to scientific analysis, every dollar invested in averting TB deaths returns an average of US$ 43 in economic benefit. Hence ending TB will benefit most the poorest.”