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WHO welcomes United Kingdom, Gates Foundation funding for global action to stop tuberculosis

27 January 2006

The World Health Organization (WHO) today welcomes the announcement by the United Kingdom government that it will give £41.7 million (US$ 74 million) to help fight tuberculosis (TB) in India and by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that it will triple funding for tuberculosis to more than US$ 900 million by 2015.

Announcement of the two funding commitments follows publication of the Global Plan to Stop Tuberculosis which sets out the steps that are needed to tackle the global tuberculosis epidemic. Two million people die of TB every year and eight million become infected. The plan, prepared by the Stop Tuberculosis Partnership, calls for global spending on tuberculosis to triple over the next ten years to increase access to tuberculosis control programmes and accelerate research on new tools to fight the disease.

"This funding from the UK government and from the Gates Foundation shows real, long-term commitment to the global effort to stop tuberculosis," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General. "The global TB action plan shows clearly what must be done to tackle the burden of TB. We must now act urgently to raise all the funds needed to put the plan into action."

Key objectives of the plan include improving access to treatment in order to prevent 14 million deaths and provide treatment to 50 million people; developing and distributing new drugs and a new, safe and affordable vaccine; and developing new efficient, effective and affordable diagnostic tests.

WHO is a partner in the Stop TB Partnership, which was established in 2000. The partnership secretariat is hosted by WHO in Geneva.

For more information contact:

Iain Simpson
Communications Officer - WHO
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Mobile phone: +41 79 475 5534