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RESULTS advocates for greater investment in the fight against tuberculosis to reach, treat, and cure everyone with TB. To build the foundations for strong health systems with the means to defeat this disease, we must invest more in improving tools for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Although many people think of tuberculosis (TB) as a disease of the past, tuberculosis (TB) is the leading global infectious killer, right behind HIV/AIDS. A bacterium spread mainly by a cough, this airborne disease knows no borders, and it disproportionately affects people in poor and developing countries.
While TB is curable, its treatment is lengthy, and the disease pushes people further into poverty. Current TB tools cannot sufficiently respond to the evolving disease – including drug-resistant strains that are very costly and difficult to treat. As a result of inadequate treatment, drug-resistant strains of TB are emerging that are much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to cure. Cases of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) have been found in almost every country of the world.
To address these challenges, RESULTS and our network of dedicated volunteers advocate for increased U.S. funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund is an innovative funding mechanism that provides grants to low- and middle-income countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment, and care programs for AIDS, TB, and malaria. It provides two-thirds of all donor funding for TB and malaria. The Global Fund disburses grants with a minimum of red tape, but with safeguards to monitor program implementation, financial management, and health outcomes.
We also advocate for the tuberculosis program of the US Agency for International Development. USAID is the lead agency in the U.S. government’s work to respond to TB in some of the hardest hit countries. USAID plays a crucial role in making sure Global Fund resources are used efficiently and effectively, helping countries develop grant applications to the Global Fund and annual TB plans. The USAID TB progam also supports research on improved, faster-acting TB medications.
RESULTS’ Legacy on TB Advocacy
When RESULTS began advocating for tuberculosis (TB) funding in 1997 as a key poverty and health issue, the U.S. provided less than $1 million in global TB funding. Since then, we’ve helped members of Congress realize that not only is TB a global epidemic, but the fight against HIV/AIDS will not succeed without an equally aggressive effort against TB. In 2008, Congress signed into law the historic Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act, authorizing $48 billion over five years for lifesaving programs, including $4 billion for USAID TB and a goal of treating 4.5 million people.
To reach the full funding level, Congress must scale up TB funding as envisioned in this historic legislation. RESULTS continues to lead advocacy efforts to urge Congress to increase funding for the Global Fund and USAID TB in our annual appropriations (foreign aid spending) bill.