As we mark this year’s World TB Day, global figures continue to tell a sobering story about the epidemic. Yet, despite the challenges ahead, we’ve seen a robust global effort to harness the power of innovation and partnerships to develop new tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases such as TB and malaria, and strategies to ensure they are available to those who need them most.

We congratulate Australia and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for their announcement of $30 million Australian dollars over three years aid package to develop lifesaving tools for TB and malaria—which builds on Australia’s longstanding support for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

The new funding will bolster the development of key tools to address the burden of the two diseases globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. The aid will be disbursed to three product development partners—Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, Medicines for Malaria Venture and FIND—that help bring together public and private sector actors to quickly move promising science forward. For example, the funds will help advance late stage trials forPaMZ, a new TB drug regimen – for the treatment of common strains of TB, and potentially a significantly shorter treatment option for some forms of multi-drug resistant TB. The development of new malaria drugs and diagnostics will help Australia deliver on its partnership with Asia-Pacific leaders to eliminate malaria in the region by 2030.

While we hope that Australia reconsiders the proposed cuts to its overall international aid budget, this announcement is a strong example of effective spending to combat two global health challenges.

This article is published in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Trevor Mundel, MD, is President of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Image: Christian LaVallee prepares solutions for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at the Health Protection Agency in north London March 9, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett.