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The Australian federal government is upping its health funding to the Pacific, with $19 million (US$12.8 million) to target tuberculosis, childhood obesity and smoking rates.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the funding boost while at a Pacific health ministers meeting in French Polynesia's Pape'ete.
In a joint statement with Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Hunt said $13 million (US$8.8 million) would go towards controlling and eliminating tuberculosis in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
"We will help build a skilled workforce to detect the disease, improve the quality of TB surveillance, make sure people stick to their treatment and work with partner governments in the region to develop and implement evidence-based TB elimination strategies," he said.
Infection control will be supported in the Pacific region through $3 million (US$2 million) to fund an infection, prevention and control adviser in Tuvalu and Kiribati.
A chief pathologist will also be hired in Samoa, as well as two infection control advisers in Fiji.
Hunt said $1 million (US$677,000) will go towards reducing childhood obesity, through exercise campaigns, and efforts to reduce food and beverage advertising to children.
A further $1 million (US$677,000) will fund the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer to help the Pacific develop tobacco control laws and policy.
"The McCabe Centre provides legal expertise and support to governments as they develop and implement tobacco control laws, and defend them against legal challenges from the global tobacco industry," Hunt said.
Another $1 million (US$677,000) will be used over four years to give Pacific island countries access to Australia's pharmaceutical quality assurance systems.
The Pacific health ministers meeting began on Monday and runs until Thursday, with a focus on universal health coverage, non-communicable diseases, immunisation and vaccine preventable diseases, water, sanitation and hygiene.
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