Manly Town Hall was lit up red last week to mark World Tuberculosis Day.

For the third year in a row, Manly Town Hall at Belgrave Street, Manly, joined dozens of buildings around Australia, and hundreds around the world, to light up red for World Tuberculosis (TB) Day last Thursday, 24 March.

The global initiative, supported in Australia by advocacy organisation Results Australia, was held in solidarity and remembrance of the 1.5m people who lose their lives to TB around the world every year.

According to NSW Health, tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a bacterial infection, which most commonly affects a person’s lungs and can cause serious illness.

Lili Koch

Lili Koch

Local resident and advocate Lili Koch was lucky to survive her encounter with TB as a small child in Switzerland more than 70 years ago. Also recently recovered from COVID-19, she marvelled at how resources and expertise have been mobilised to fight the new pandemic.

She noted that there are 25 COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed for use around the world but only one ‘moderately effective’ vaccine for TB, which has been around for centuries and affects millions annually.

“It’s sad to think that years of progress fighting TB have also been eroded by COVID-19 and now TB deaths are increasing for the first time in over a decade,” cautioned Ms Koch.

Ms Koch took the opportunity to express her gratitude to Northern Beaches Council for their continued support, with Mayor Michael Regan attending in a show of solidarity.

“On World TB Day I’m pleased that the Northern Beaches Council took the opportunity to focus on the need to protect everyone from earlier pandemics like TB, that we are yet to defeat,” said Ms Koch.

Ms Koch’s campaign aims to encourage the Australian Government to invest funding to end tuberculosis. This includes strong support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a public-private partnership which provides 77 percent of international financing for TB research.

Images: Maree Nutt OAM

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