Red light to halt pandemic

The Drum was lit red on 24 March, coinciding with World Tuberculosis Day.


The Drum theatre in Dandenong was lit up red in recognition of the 1.4 million people who die from tuberculosis each year.

It was one of 50 buildings in Australia that showed support for a movement to end the TB pandemic on World Tuberculosis Day on 24 March.

According to campaign organisers Results, TB is one of the deadliest airborne infectious diseases.

It kills 4000 a day, including 700 children. Close to 15 million have succumbed in the past decade.

In Australia, more than 1000 people required treatment in 2020. About 1 million carry the latent virus.

Results International chief executive Negaya Chorley thanked Dandenong for its support against the “terrible disease”.

She called on the Australia Government to boost research and development funding for TB to $30 million a year – to match a UN political declaration in 2018.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen an incredible global effort to tackle COVID-19 and in record time we have developed a number of effective vaccines, diagnostics and improved treatments and outcomes.

“Now it’s time we came together in a similar effort to eradicate TB globally.”

Results advocate Nicholas Gould said Australia should do more to help eradicate the disease in the Indo Pacific region.

“Some of our nearest neighbours have the highest TB rates in the world, including Papua New Guinea which is now struggling with runaway Covid infections and a straining hospital system at the same time.

“The Covid-19 crisis means it’s more important than ever that we assist our neighbouring countries in dealing with the impacts of TB, and don’t fall behind in eradicating this disease not just in Australia but across our region.”