Stop TB Partnership applauds US global health coalition recommendations to the Obama Administration

29 October 2009 | Geneva -- The Stop TB Partnership congratulates the coalition of US-based organizations working across a spectrum of global health issues that today released the report The Future of Global Health: Ingredients of a Bold and Effective U.S. Initiative.

"The authors of the report have made a strong case for increased and sustained support for TB control and research as an integral part of the Obama Administration's Global Health Initiative," said Dr Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership. "We are proud to be able to count on the wide spectrum of partners that have come together in this coalition."

The report, the first of its kind, defines expectations for President Obama’s planned Global Health Initiative (GHI), which was first announced by the White House in May and is now being developed through an inter-agency team led by Deputy Secretary of State Jacob Lew. The report describes policy and funding needs for a US government response that will help lead the world to universal access and comprehensive healthcare in developing countries.

The authors highlight the crucial role of TB control for achieving other development goals. They cite the paper commissioned by the World Bank which shows that fully funding the Global Plan to Stop TB in sub-Saharan Africa would yield economic benefits that outweigh the costs nine to one. They also stress that TB is a leading cause of death for adult women, and that children are two to three times more likely to die if their mothers have TB.

The report's recommendations include:

- Fulfilment of commitments of the Lantos-Hyde Act: development of a strategy to reach the US target of providing 4.5 million successful TB treatments and 90 000 successful MDR-TB treatments; and full funding of US bilateral TB programs supported through PEPFAR, USAID, CDC and multilateral programs

- Doubling, at minimum, of PEPFAR’s TB-HIV budget line to US$300 million annually; and to ensure that every person receiving HIV services in US government-supported health centres is routinely screened for TB

- An increase of at least US$300 million annually in funding to the NIH, USAID, and CDC for TB research and development-- with fast-tracking and funding for clinical trials for drugs to treat MDR-TB and XDR-TB and support for increased operational research that identifies and disseminates best practices for TB and TB-HIV

- Additional funding to accelerate research and development of new TB diagnostics, drugs and a vaccine.

"We thank our partners and advocates in the US Congress for their dedication and diligence and urge the Obama Administration to take up the coalition's recommendations on TB. Implementation of these recommendations will contribute to the implementation of the Global Plan to Stop TB; with direct benefits to men, women and children across the globe," Dr. Espinal said.

The report was launched in Washington at a policy forum on Capitol Hill in cooperation with the Congressional Global Health Caucus and Congressmen Henry Waxman and Jim McDermott; and Congresswomen Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Betty McCollum and Diane Watson.