Hon Dr Angelina ‘Helen’ Tan
Co-chair – Global TB Caucus, Asia Pacific Member for the Quezon 4th district in the House of Representatives of the Philippines
The catastrophic economic and social consequences of TB are well known but the substantial economic benefits of ending TB however, have been unknown until recently.
Assessing the economic impact of TB mortality in 120 countries: what it will cost if we don’t achieve the End TB targets finds that by meeting the originally planned End TB mortality target of 2030, 23.8 million TB-related deaths and US$13.1 trillion in full-income losses can be avoided.
The worst-case scenario where the End TB target is not met at all (prior to 2050) would result in 31.8 million TB-related deaths and US$17.5 trillion in full-income losses – the ‘Cost of Failure’. Inaction now jeopardises all our futures, as economic and human costs, and the permanent impact on our societies will reverberate for years to come.
The power of collaboration
The Global TB Caucus is committed to fighting the avoidable tragedy of TB by working to protect and increase TB budgets; implement scale-up of World Health Organization (WHO) recommended, new quality TB treatment regimens and diagnostics; fight for investment in TB programmes, coordinate research and development, and cross-sectoral collaboration; and sustain and increase support to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria – the largest multilateral provider of grants for health and a key player in the multilateral response to COVID-19 in tandem with HIV, TB and malaria.
The scale and speed with which governments have mobilised the response to COVID-19 has shown us the power of strong commitment. In these times of new challenges, we must also take new approaches to financing, such as implementing tax exemptions, alternate sources of funding, and establishing mandatory appropriations in government funds for TB response.
By meeting the originally planned End TB mortality target of 2030, 23.8 million TB-related deaths and US$13.1 trillion in full-income losses can be avoided.
How you can help
We all have a part to play in fighting the cost of inaction on TB, and you can support Members of Parliament in the fight by doing the following:
- Highlight the report findings to Ministers of Health and Finance
- Call on Heads of State and Ministers of Health to establish a high-level review body/mechanism regularly reviewing the TB response at the national level
- Insist on the inclusion of Parliamentarians on any high-level body/mechanism regularly reviewing the TB response and budget at national levels
If we are to end TB, we all need to not only fully invest our human generosity and empathy, but our economic resources. No one should have to live with or die from TB in our present or our future, and we have the power to ensure that it becomes a disease of the past by supporting all sectors in the TB community to advocate for better funding, accountability and access to TB prevention, detection and treatment for all.