Australia, Indonesia and the Global Fund signed on Thursday an agreement that will support Indonesia’s fight against tuberculosis.
The Debt2Health deal was announced by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta.
“This fulfils a commitment Australia made in 2007, and is a further demonstration of Australia’s commitment to working with Indonesia to address development challenges.
“Australia strongly supports this Debt2Health swap with Indonesia and the Global Fund to tackle the challenge of treating and preventing tuberculosis,” Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Stephen Smith said.
Under a Debt2Health arrangement, Australia will cancel AUD$75 million of Indonesia’s debt. In return, Indonesia will invest half of this amount in national programs to combat tuberculosis through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa welcomed the swap as a sign of the good and friendly relations between the two countries.
Rahmat Waluyanto, Director General for Debt Management at the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, said the debt swap initiative would enable the government to redirect its debt service towards public health.
Indonesia has the third highest rate of tuberculosis in the world, with more than 90,000 people dying from the disease every year.