Brown's Tuberculosis Funding Language Passes As Part Of Foreign Operations Bill
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced passage of language that would provide an additional $90 million in funding, bringing our total investment for TB assistance to $200 million. This language was cosponsored by Senators Brownback, Durbin, and Boxer and passed as part of the FY08 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
Brown's language responds to the enormous TB death rates worldwide and the growing threat posed by drug resistant forms of this disease.
Extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which is extremely difficult to treat and kills most of its victims, has been found in 37 countries, including the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Globally it accounts for approximately two percent of TB cases. This spring, the CDC announced that dozens of airline passengers were potentially exposed to (XDR-TB) on international flights out of the Unites States.
"Tuberculosis kills1.6 million people a year in developing countries," said Brown. "Unchecked, drug resistant TB, including deadly XDR-TB, threatens to reverse progress made against AIDS and TB worldwide. In today's world, extensively drug-resistant TB poses a grave public health threat never more than a plane ride away."
Funding for global TB programs has not kept pace with investments in other disease priorities like malaria and HIV/AIDS. U.S. funding for international AIDS efforts increased from $840 million in 2001 to over $5 billion in the FY '08 Senate Foreign Operations bill. U.S. funding for international malaria efforts went from $100 million in 2006 to more than $350 million in the '08 Senate Foreign Operations bill. Before Brown's language, the FY 08 funding for TB stood at $110 million.
In June, Brown was joined at a Capital Hill news conference by Dr. Jim Kim, Professor of Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, in support of comprehensive tuberculosis legislation designed to fight the reemergence of TB in the U.S.
Earlier this year, Brown met with representatives from CDC, the World Health Organization, and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Mark Dybul, to discuss growing concerns about XDR-TB. In February, Brown joined with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Sam Brownback (R-KS) calling on the U.S. Department of State and the CDC to respond proactively to XDR-TB. They cited an outbreak of XDR-TB in a South African hospital in August that, within 25 days, killed fifty-two of the fifty-three patients infected.