Ten million people will die of tuberculosis in the next five years if global funding to fight the disease is not increased, the Stop TB Partnership warned Wednesday.
The Partnership, a coalition of governments, non-profits, companies and international organisations, said 47 billion dollars are needed to save five million lives between now and 2015, including two million women and children.
Each year, nine million people contract TB, which hits hardest in the developing world. Most cases occur in Asia (55 percent) and Africa (30 percent), with India and China alone accounting for 35 percent of all cases, the Stop TB Partnership said.
Close to two million people die of the contagious lung infection each year -- most from treatable cases, the Partnership said in its 2011-2015 "Global Plan to Stop TB".
The coalition said 37 billion dollars (26.5 billion euros) are needed to carry out its action plan, and 10 billion dollars (seven billion euros) for research to develop a vaccine, new medications and more effective testing.
"If the required funding of 37 billion dollars for the implementation component of the plan is mobilized, achievements will be substantial," it said.
"During the five years of the plan, these include... about five million lives saved, including more than two million women and children."
The Partnership called for renewed efforts to help the most vulnerable patients -- the more than 900,000 HIV positive people who contract TB each year and the 400,000 to 500,000 people who develop multi-drug resistant TB.
The coalition said TB-affected countries should be able to come up with about 23 billion dollars to combat TB over the next five years, but will not be able to fully fund the fight against the disease.
It called on international donors in high-income countries to kick in 2.8 billion dollars a year over the next five years to make up the funding gap.
"Political commitment, backed by the financial commitments of both endemic as well as donor countries, is critical to global efforts to stop TB," it said.
The Partnership said funding to fight the disease has lagged in the past five years, saying it needs to make up a funding shortfall of nine billion dollars between 2006 and 2010.
Tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial infection that spreads by air. An infected person can spread the disease to about 15 other people per year.