Is domestic finance the future of TB financing?

A tuberculosis patient is given her treatment at a hospital in Jalhandar, India. Aid that went to fighting the disease reached $1.37 billion in 2014, which is small compared with funding for other diseases. Photo by: Benoist Carpentier / IFRC / CC BY-NC-ND

One of the biggest complaints by anti-TB advocates has been the lack of new tools to aid them in the fight against tuberculosis, a centuries-old disease that continues to take the lives of an estimated 1.5 million people every year.

And it’s not difficult to understand why. Given all the money, information and technology available today, there is just one tuberculosis vaccine and only for children. Drugs to treat the disease are increasingly facing more aggressive and resistant bacteria. And microscopes continue to be the primary tool to detect TB in most countries — the same tool German physicist and Nobel Prize recipient Robert Koch used when he discovered the bacteria that causes tuberculosis in 1882.

Unfortunately, it is precisely the lack of money and adequate tools that brought the fight against tuberculosis to a standstill. While international financing for TB has grown since 2002, it remains a paltry sum compared with the vast amounts of money channeled to other infectious diseases, such as HIV and AIDS.

Based on estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, aid that went to TB activities reached $1.37 billion in 2014. In the same year, funding for HIV and AIDS totaled $10.9 billion.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.