Sandra Eagle A step to halting TB
It may surprise you to learn that tuberculosis is the world’s biggest infectious killer. It matters that you know one out of three of us worldwide carry the TB bacterium which can be activated at any time in the carrier’s life, 9 million do become sick with it every year, and 1.6 million died of it last year. It’s treatable, curable, and preventable, and exponentially more expensive to treat in the United States/developed nations, so how did we let this happen?
Through political denial, for years ending TB has been underfunded (here in the United States and in our participation in the global fight to prevent the epidemic from coming to our shores) and under-prioritized. The treat of the epidemic has sounded an alarm, and this week, Sept. 26, the first high level meeting on TB is being held at the United Nations.
The risk to the United States of an epidemic being triggered here, has alarmed Congress enough for a stunning number of congresspersons to have signed bi-partisan letters to the president — 43 in the Senate and 106 in the House — calling for “meaningful U.S. engagement around the important event (the UN high level meeting on TB), and to ensure that it results in the urgent investments and actions needed to defeat TB. It is in the interest of the United States that this High-Level Meeting succeed. The United States should remain a strong global leader in providing funding for effective TB programs and research, and not just sustain but expand its commitment. We stand ready to work with you to leverage the unprecedented opportunities for faster progress against TB presented by the High-Level Meeting.”
The House has followed this letter with a call for a $40-million funding increase in the fight to end the TB epidemic. Please call your senators and representatives and ask them to support that increase, and robust engagement in the UN high level meeting.
Sandra Eagle of Stamford is a member of Results, an anti-poverty movement that is working toward (among other goals) ending the scourge of tuberculosis.