The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

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“Turn off the Tap” and eradicate tuberculosis (TB)!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dr Vinh Binh Lieu

How our local community is helping the fight against TB

It is estimated around 1.7 million people die annually from TB and the majority of deaths are in infants and children. TB is an infectious disease transmitted from person to person by coughing. The highest numbers of deaths are in the African and South-East Asian regions. The Woolcock is committed to understanding how TB is transmitted in large populations and how we can improve awareness, stop the spread of the disease and develop new treatment options and delivery systems.

The Woolcock has a research centre and office in Hanoi, Vietnam. We are coordinating multiple projects across eight provinces and conducting community screening of thousands of people to track and manage those that are infected. These projects will help us understand how TB is transmitted through large communities and which treatment and management options work. This project will help us understand how we can ‘Turn off the Tap’ and eradicate TB.

Joining in the effort to eradicate the disease, Sydney’s Vietnamese community is rallying their support by hosting a fundraising dinner, called Golden Heart Charity Dinner, on Saturday 7pm 10 September 2016 at the Bankstown Sports Club. Under the leadership of Dr Vinh Binh Lieu, a winner of the 2011 Bankstown Australia Day Awards, the Vietnamese-Australian community has been tremendously active in supporting various causes and emergencies around Australia, including the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal and the bushfires in Victoria. 

In Vietnam, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with TB and 17,000 die from it every year.  For Annalise, on a recent visit to Vietnam to observe how the dedicated team of Woolcock researchers, the experience was both illuminating and inspiring. “I was able to help this team one day, meeting some of the 60,000 people they visit for screening every year,” she says. “I received a small glimpse of the incredible work being done through this research, and met some of the many faces of rural Ca Mau this project is impacting.”  But as she explains, the work of the research team is far from over. “Each community selected for the project is screened yearly for four years,” she says. “That’s a very big and very important job.

The Woolcock team hopes that if this model is shown to be successful, it can be implemented throughout Vietnam and other high burden countries. “This represents a small but crucial step towards a Vietnam free from tuberculosis,” says Annalise.

We are committed to understanding and eradicating the disease. If you would like to support our research, please click the donate button.  Or if you’d like more information in Vietnamese on our TB project, visit or watch a Vietnamese program below. 

Thank you to Dr Lieu and the Vietnamese-Australian community for their generous support.

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