Everything you need to know to maximize your impact on March 24’s World TB Day and beyond

March 16, 2023
by Karyne Bury

March 24 is World TB Day, and this year, we have an unprecedented opportunity to launch the most impactful stretch of tuberculosis (TB) advocacy as the world builds up to a dedicated United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on TB in September 2023. Keep reading to learn more about TB advocacy and how to raise your voice for action this World TB Day!

Why tuberculosis, and why now?

RESULTS’ early work in microfinance spotlighted the devastation of TB, as a household infection often meant someone defaulted on their loan, presenting an undue financial burden on families. This disease deepens poverty by decimating someone’s capacity to work while incurring the cost of treatment (if available). In addition, the total cost of TB for patients can be catastrophic. Income loss often constitutes the largest financial risk for patients. Poverty also increases the probability someone will contract TB, so it is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Until COVID-19, TB was the number one infectious killer in the world, and it is poised to reclaim this disturbing title. COVID-19 diverted resources from efforts to fight TB while causing breakdowns in healthcare infrastructure, tragically spiking TB infections and deaths. However, unlike with COVID-19, we already know how to treat and prevent TB — we just need the political will to do it. With your advocacy, you can help set in motion an end to this destructive but curable disease. Join us in taking these actions on World TB Day as a launchpad for unflagging advocacy leading up to the UN High-Level Meeting on TB in September 2023 and beyond…

How to “Set the Agenda” for Congress to end TB (on World TB Day and beyond)

Engage your representatives and senators.

Reach out to your Senators and urge them to co-sponsor the End TB Now Act (S. 288). According to Sen. Bob Menedez, the sponsor of the re-introduced End TB Now Act, “The End Tuberculosis Now Act would strengthen and streamline U.S. efforts to fight TB, including by increasing support for the World Health Organization’s End TB Strategy and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Plan to End TB.”

Additionally, Friday, March 24, is the deadline for your Representatives in the House to send their appropriations requests for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to the House Appropriations Committee. Connect with your offices now and request that they appropriate $1 billion for tuberculosis within USAID Global Health in FY24 (over double the amount from $394.5 million appropriated last year). The Senate deadline will soon follow on April 14.

Raise awareness using traditional and social media. Yes! We can end TB!

At the RESULTS Action Center, you can take action by drafting and submitting a letter to the editor (LTE) urging strong global TB appropriations and support for the End TB Now Act now. The Stop TB Partnership has released its World TB Day 2023 campaign toolkit, where you can find sample posts, tweets, and graphics and turn them into a call to action by tagging a specific member of Congress or committee. You can also find additional resources and materials on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s World TB Day resources page, including TB facts, stories of survivors of TB, and research to educate partners, stakeholders, and the media.

Engage and learn from people with lived experience on the frontlines.

RESULTS advocates and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) have joined together to  advocate on global poverty issues, including TB, through the affiliate group Global Allies Program: Partners Ending Poverty with RESULTS (GAP). GAP will host a webinar featuring RPCVs with We Are TB and USAID on Wednesday, March 22, called How RPCV advocacy will help bring an end to tuberculosis. Consider attending to learn more about the TB epidemic from leaders and volunteers with first-hand knowledge of treating and supporting healthcare infrastructure for TB. Have RPCVs in your community? Invite them to join and coordinate advocacy actions!

Keep the advocacy going.

Again, World TB Day is just the starting point toward continued advocacy efforts throughout the year that will bring us together — in our communities, country, and world. You have made tremendous strides in the Set the Agenda campaign through lobby meetings. Keep the momentum going by following up, staying engaged with your legislators beyond this campaign through to the UN High-Level Meetings on TB in September, and challenging Congress to rise to the occasion. For too long, this debilitating disease has been ignored primarily because of the most marginalized communities that it affects. We have the tools and solutions, and with your support, we will stem the tide of TB. Lives depend on it!

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