Global tuberculosis treatment advocates and activists are asking leaders of the five countries that are home to almost half of all tuberculosis illnesses and deaths to triple their funding for research and development of new medicines and technologies to prevent, diagnose, and treat the leading infectious disease killer worldwide, on a petition that will be presented to the health ministers of the countries on the eve of their upcoming meeting. The petition, which is open for signatures through the end of the day, notes that Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa, also are home to nearly half of people in the world suffering from drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis currently treated with longer, more toxic, and less effective regimens and urgently requiring new treatments.
The petition follows a report from the Treatment Action Group showing that tuberculosis research and development funding declined to its lowest level last year in eight years, widening the gap between what is needed, and supplied to reach goals to reduce the spread and toll of the disease. While that happened, the petition notes, 38 percent of deaths from tuberculosis, and 42 percent of new tuberculosis illnesses occurred in the five BRICS countries, which together supplied only 4 percent of funding supporting research and development to fight the disease. The Treatment Action Group also presented those findings to leaders of an international caucus of parliament members focusing on responses to tuberculosis at a meeting during the Union World Conference on Lung Health last month.
The petition asks Brazil Minister of Health Dr. Ricardo Barros, China Health and Family Planning Minister Dr. Li Bin, South Africa Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, India Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, and Russian Federation Health Minister Dr. Veronika Skvortsova to commit themselves at their December 16 meeting to set a target in December to triple their countries contributions to tuberculosis research and development, work with ministries of finance, and of science and technology to ensure efforts to develop new tools against the disease are fully funded, and to make information on annual spending for tuberculosis research and development.
The petition can be read and signed through links here.