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Singapore in a prime position to lead fight against Tuberculosis

24 Mar 2016

Team members from the Tuberculosis Control in Cambodia Programme conducting fieldwork in Cambodia

24 March marks World Tuberculosis (TB) Day around the world, a day designed to build public awareness against the global epidemic of TB and efforts to eliminate this disease. TB may be thought of as a disease of the past in developed societies where newborn vaccinations are cheap and readily available, but the fight is far from over. TB kills 1.5 million people every year, more than any other infectious disease, writes Dr Mishal Khan from the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. Furthermore, Singapore is located at the heart of the TB epidemic, being close to Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, China and India - countries with the highest number of TB cases in the world. The situation is further complicated multidrug-resistant TB.

However, Singapore is well-poised to be a global leader in the battle against TB. The scope of our research infrastructure and human resource allow for us to conduct "bench to bedside" work, as seen Singapore Programme of Research Investigating New Approaches to Treatment of Tuberculosis (SPRINT TB). Our geographical location also puts Singapore at an advantage for regional engagement on research and capacity building, as evidenced by the first TB research programme in Cambodia, spearheaded by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. Finally, Singapore has the opportunity to impact funding for TB research and development at a global level, having appeared in the Treatment Action Group report as the country which had invested the most in TB research (as a percentage of its GDP). 

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