Letter: Help stop TB

Help stop TB

Editor of the Reformer:

A couple of weeks ago, the world commemorated World Tuberculosis Day. One would think that on such a day, the world, especially those with the privilege of access to information would pay attention health or take initiative to learn more about Tuberculosis. Not quite. During a class group discussion that same day, one of my classmates confessed to not being familiar with tuberculosis as a disease.

Like many people nationwide, my classmate didn't know that tuberculosis is one of the world's leading infectious killer diseases. In 2014 alone, 9.6 million people fell ill with tuberculosis and 1.5 million died from the disease, with 95 percent of the deaths happening in low and middle-income countries. This disease mostly affects adults in their productive years and is one of the top causes of death among women aged 15 to 44 years.

The good news is that tuberculosis is treatable and curable. Scientists believe that it's possible to put an end to the epidemic. So, why can't we have more funding for the continued eradication of this killer disease in the country? It is important for congress to make sure that more funding is put to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund provides about eighty percent of all external funding for fighting TB. Since 2000, TB deaths have declined 29 percent in countries partnering with the Global Fund. The Global Fund now has a plan to save eight million lives and prevent 300 million new cases of AIDs, TB, and malaria by 2020. It will do this by supporting countries to scale up proven treatments, target the people who need it most, and work with local communities to make sure every dollar is maximized.

The Global Fund as been at the forefront of one of the greatest success stories of our time regarding the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria through their strategic financing and powerful partnerships. The U.S government has historically been a leader in supporting this work; and we need to continue this leadership as The Global Fund seeks replenishment this year. Together with other world leading governments, the U.S should invest a full one-third of the $13 billion it will take to put that plan into action.

Rehema Namukose, Brattleboro, April 7


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