Young, Menendez Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen U.S. Efforts in Ending Global Tuberculosis Epidemic
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure the United States government does more to help end the global tuberculosis epidemic. The End Tuberculosis Now Actof 2019 aims to significantly refocus U.S. actions on prevention as part of the cure, to address virulent drug resistant strains of TB, and provide support for the latest best practices and technologies in the areas of diagnoses and treatment. As the world’s most lethal disease, Tuberculosis currently claims more than 1.5 million lives annually, more than HIV and Malaria combined.
“Since tuberculosis was declared a national emergency in 1993, it has continued to impact countless lives,” said Senator Young. “We must enhance our efforts globally to end the spread of this highly infectious and deadly disease, and that’s exactly what our bill plans to do.”
“As the Tuberculosis epidemic continues to grow across the world, the United States needs to do more to galvanize progress in combatting this disease,” said Senator Menendez. “That is why we are introducing this legislation, to ensure dedicated efforts are in place to close critical gaps in the current global response, improve testing methods and make the necessary reforms to support research into the development of new treatments and prevention techniques. There are plenty of opportunities to air our political differences, but this epidemic should not be one of them. As the world’s most lethal disease, we need to make sure we are fully engaged and committed to doing our part in the fight to end TB once and for all.”
The End Tuberculosis Now Act amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to establish new goals for United States efforts, and employ new prevention and treatment efforts based on the latest scientific data, best practices, and indicators required to ramp-up access to vulnerable populations, increase the number of those on treatment, and improve prevention of all forms of tuberculosis globally.
The bill also increases accountability and transparency through the establishment of independent accountability mechanisms, to include inclusive country level systems that measure progress and ensure that commitments made by governments and relevant stakeholders are met. In doing so, it reduces the duplication of efforts, encourages equitable shares in domestic and international expenditure, and directs the appropriate integration and coordination of tuberculosis services into other United States-supported health programs across relevant federal agencies.
Addressing critical gaps in the current global response to the ongoing Tuberculosis epidemic, the Act also promotes the development of new tools, therapies, and technologies needed to end Tuberculosis, particularly it’s difficult to treat, often deadly multi-drug resistant strains. The bill specifically emphasizes increasing access to the most advanced, affordable, and quality-assured tuberculosis drugs and diagnostics by at risk populations such as pregnant women, children, and other high-risk groups who are vulnerable or are in vulnerable situations, such as migrants, prisoners, miners, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
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