Transforming the global fight against tuberculosis: Campaign overview

March 24, 2023
by Colin Puzo Smith, Director of Global Policy

On World Tuberculosis Day, here’s a look at how you can take action in the months ahead.

We’ve known how to prevent, treat, and cure tuberculosis (TB) for decades, but it was still the world’s biggest infectious killer before COVID-19. Now TB is on track to reclaim the shameful top spot, with millions of people denied access to care each year.

In September 2023, world leaders will gather at the United Nations (UN) for the second High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis. And in the months before then, policymakers will be deciding if and what they are ready to do to end this centuries-old disease.

The TB epidemic is fueled by stigma and political indifference, creating a vicious cycle with poverty. A meeting in New York City won’t change this. But better policies and funding can.

TB survivors, community leaders, health workers, parliamentarians, and advocates from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific are all pushing their governments to step forward in a big way on TB this year. Here’s a look at how your advocacy in the U.S. can play a part.

What do we want the U.S. government to do?

  • Increase annual funding for global TB to $1 billion
  • Pass the End TB Now Act, for equity and impact in the fight against TB
  • Bring a bold plan to the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis
  • Encourage other countries to come to the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis with their own bold plans

What actions should members of Congress take?

  • Sign onto annual funding letters for $1 billion for TB (Spring)
  • Weigh in with congressional leadership, asking for $1 billion (Spring)
  • Co-sponsor the End TB Now Act, and get it passed into law
  • Sign a letter to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) calling for bold action (Summer)
  • Step up as a champion for TB – get creative!

How can grassroots advocacy make it happen?

Boosting global TB funding to $1 billion (Spring 2023)

We’re asking for $1 billion for global TB programs through USAID, our country’s main global health agency. We’ll ask members of Congress to sign onto group letters supporting the $1 billion, submit their own personal requests to congressional leaders, show up and testify before their peers, and weigh in on the annual government funding process (appropriations) in other ways. RESULTS volunteers already set a record in the House this spring, with 129 signers calling for $1 billion. Now we’re onto the Senate!

Legislation for more equity and impact (until its signed into law!)

As we work to triple U.S. funding for TB, we’re also making sure this funding gets put to the best possible use. The End TB Now Act shapes how funding is spent, prioritizes the most marginalized communities, and holds USAID accountable for results, equity, and impact. Last fall, the bill moved through the key congressional committees in a bipartisan way. This year, we want to get it signed into law.

Asking Congress to push the Administration (Summer 2023)

As we advocate for more funding and new legislation, we also want the U.S. to show leadership with the tools it already has. In the summer of 2023, we’ll rally Congress onto a letter to the Administration calling for them to show up to the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis with a bold plan, and to use their global influence to push other countries to do the same.

Building political momentum for Congress to act

From the meeting at the UN, to the G20 Summit, to new breakthroughs in science – it will be a big year for global TB. We want our members of Congress to do everything they can to seize it. Here are a few other ideas for how we can push for action:

  • Encouraging members of Congress to attend briefings
  • Hosting TB experts and survivors at community events
  • Publishing media opportunities around key moments
  • Getting creative: what other ideas do you have?

Looking for more resources? Check out our Action Center, or watch a deep dive on the campaign.

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