As the annual convocation of the United Nations General Assembly wound down in late September, world leaders unveiled an ambitious effort to intensify the fight against tuberculosis, a disease that is the world’s leading infectious disease killer.
Tuberculosis, or TB, has plagued humans for thousands of years. It is believed to have evolved along with people - and it is still evolving, and still killing its victims. Even though TB is a preventable and curable disease, each day, some 4,000 people die because of it, and another 30,000 become ill with it. It is often a disease of the poor, the under-nourished and those who do not have access to healthcare.
At the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, global leaders set several goals to be reached by 2027. They include reaching 90 percent of people with TB prevention and care services, providing social benefit packages to all people with TB, licensing at least one new vaccine, and closing funding gaps for implementation.
For our part, the United States, working through USAID, has launched new programs to support countries in fighting tuberculosis.
This is part of USAID’s global investment of over $394 million meant to counter TB in Fiscal Year 2023. Notably, USAID will use $8.5 million to increase its support of TB programs in conflict settings, especially among the populations most at risk of TB in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Burma.
At the same time, one to two of USAID’s TB priority countries will receive as much as $15 million more during this fiscal year, to roll out innovative Tuberculosis diagnostics and treatments at the community and primary health care levels.
USAID, in cooperation with the SMART4TB Consortium led by Johns Hopkins, launched a new foundational clinical trial on a TB preventive therapy regimen, for the future study of a single-dose, long-acting injectable medicine.
As the world’s largest bilateral donor leading the fight to end Tuberculosis, USAID has provided $4.7 billion in assistance to combat this disease since 2000. Working with partners, USAID has saved more than 75 million lives to date. This most recent effort yet again illustrates USAID's steadfast commitment to ending TB globally.