Indonesia Set to Step Up Fight Against Tuberculosis


OCTOBER 03, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia is set to step up its fight against tuberculosis by focusing on cross-sectoral collaboration, in parallel with a new global resolve to strengthen action on combating the disease, following the third United Nations High-Level Meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases on Sept. 26.

As one of high TB burden countries, Indonesia face several key obstacles such as difficulties to access cases due to limited resources and challenging geographical challenges, in addition to socioeconomic problems.

The country's decentralized system further also has an impact on disparities in development, though it is not exclusive to tuberculosis.

"These lead to uneven achievement of tuberculosis targets within and across Indonesia, therefore we acknowledge that it is imperative to have strong coordination and collaboration … we will keep working on it," Health Minister Nila Moeloek said in a UN TV broadcast during the meeting in New York.

In its recently published Global Tuberculosis Report, the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that funding is one of the biggest obstacles in combating the infectious disease across the globe.

In Indonesia, the national budget to combat the disease is about $294 million, 49 percent of which is unfunded, according to the report.

Data compiled by the WHO showed there were more than a million cases in the archipelago last year, though only about half were reported to the Ministry of Health, thus risking further contagion.

During a discussion hosted by Forum Stop TB Partnership Indonesia (FSTPI) in New York, hosted Nila emphasized the importance of a strong commitment, cross-sectoral collaboration and multidimensional approach to tackle the disease, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.

This includes alternative methods of financing, such as by the private sector, and strategic cooperation between government, academics and civil society.

FSTPI chairman Arifin Panigoro was quoted in the statement as saying that Indonesia must learn from other countries with good track records in the fight against TB, highlighting that the elimination of the disease will not be possible without effective mass mobilization of resources.

"It's time we embrace more people to get involved, because the problem of tuberculosis extends further than health," Arifin said.

The forum has mapped relevant stakeholders and identified potential roles they can play as part of a collaborative effort, and plans to facilitate the partnerships through networking at the domestic and international level.

The UN meeting concluded with the adoption of a political declaration on tuberculosis, which seeks to strengthen action and investments to end the disease by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.