June 2008: Tell the Senate: push the Lantos-Hyde Act (PEPFAR reauthorization) over the finish line.
The annual Group of Eight (G8) Summit of the world’s most economically and politically powerful countries — the U.S., Germany, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Russia, Italy, and Canada — will take place in Hokkaido, Japan, July 7–9. Global health is again on the G8 agenda, and the U.S. must provide leadership to ensure that the group takes action on tuberculosis. The U.S. should announce a new initiative to stop TB and challenge other wealthy countries to make matching commitments. If the U.S. fails to raise the issue this year, other G8 governments are likely to continue to neglect this urgent health crisis.
The U.S. chief negotiator for the G8 Summit (known as a “sherpa”) will help determine the agenda. Call on the U.S. Sherpa to announce a new U.S.-led initiative on TB at the G8 Summit!
G8 Must Step Up Efforts to Halt TB, TB-HIV and Drug-Resistant TB
At the turn of the millennium, the G8 took decisive action to combat the most deadly infectious killers of our time by creating the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Meeting in Okinawa in June of 2000, G8 leaders recognized that “diseases, most notably HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. . . . threaten to reverse decades of development and to rob an entire generation of hope for a better future.” Despite the Okinawa G8 commitment to “reduce TB deaths and prevalence of the disease by 50 percent by 2010,” this target will not be met in Africa unless the international community takes dramatic and immediate action.
The U.S. Should Lead the G8 on Efforts to Fight TB
Largely resulting from grassroots RESULTS advocacy throughout the past decade, the U.S. is currently investing substantially to roll back the burden of TB. This effort includes bilateral assistance to stop TB, support for the multilateral Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and programs to combat TB-HIV co-infection. Congress is poised to renew this effort with the passage of the Lantos-Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act. This legislation authorizes $4 billion over the next five years for TB, plus additional support for the Global Fund.
Given its current investments in TB control, the U.S. is in a strong position to announce a tuberculosis initiative at the G8 Summit. A new initiative announced on an important global stage would elevate the profile of TB and leverage commitments from other G8 governments.
A New U.S. TB Initiative
A U.S. TB initiative should focus on:
Securing and extending progress on AIDS through TB-HIV programming. TB and HIV/AIDS have converged into co-pandemics in many countries. HIV/AIDS is fueling TB’s spread, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, while TB is having an enormous and growing impact on HIV mortality and threatening the progress made in fighting HIV/AIDS, including through the U.S. investment to fight HIV/AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Fighting drug-resistant TB. The spread of XDR-TB is a growing threat to human security. Since 2006, cases have been reported in over 45 countries, including the U.S. and all G8 member countries. Investment in expanded laboratories and treatment programs along with research for new drugs and diagnostics is the only way to keep people around the world safe from drug-resistant TB.
Stopping TB in South/Southeast/Central Asia. Countries that are among the most geopolitically important to U.S. interests, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and others, are also among those with the highest burden of TB. The U.S. already provides billions in aid to these countries — a small piece of which, re-focused on TB (and not detracting from other health investments), could have huge economic and social impact.
Your Voice Must be Heard
Though RESULTS Educational Fund has briefed the G8 Sherpa (top civil servant on G8 matters) and National Security Council (NSC) Director of G8 Affairs on leveraging this strategic opportunity to declare a TB initiative at the G8 summit, the G8 Sherpa needs to hear directly from you — the very U.S. constituents to whom he’s accountable.