WASHINGTON –Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today introduced the End Tuberculosis Now Act of 2021, comprehensive legislation to bolster U.S. efforts to combat the global TB pandemic.
The bipartisan legislation, which for the first time addresses the major impact COVID-19 has had on global TB control efforts, directs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to boost its bilateral tuberculosis programs and activities to account for new goals established by the international community. In 2018, the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) set a new target of successfully treating 40 million people with Tuberculosis by 2022, including 3.5 million children. TB is now ranked as the second worst infectious killer in the world after COVID-19, with the World Health Organization estimating 1.9 million tuberculosis deaths in 2020 alone, underscoring the need to take urgent action.
“I am proud to introduce the End Tuberculosis Now Act of 2021 to overhaul the United States’ response to the global tuberculosis pandemic to ensure this deadly and entirely preventable disease is placed at the forefront of our global health priorities,” Chairman Menendez said. “As we begin to grasp the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic’s widening of gaps in global health equity, the spread of tuberculosis has intensified among vulnerable populations, with approximately one fourth of the world currently affected. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to secure passage of this critical legislation and to recommit the United States as a leader in the global fight to end the tuberculosis pandemic through improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.”
“Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable, treatable, and curable disease. More than 25 years after it was declared a public health emergency, TB still remains the second most deadly infectious health threat next to COVID-19, and goes undiagnosed in many countries,” said Senator Young. “We must demonstrate U.S. leadership by passing our End Tuberculosis Now Act to find and treat TB, reduce the stigma, and better target this curable disease.”
“As we rally against the newest pandemic, we can’t afford to ignore the longstanding ones. TB is a centuries old pandemic that killed 1.5 million people last year; we have the tools to end this curable disease, but we still need the resources and political attention to match.” said Joanne Carter, Executive Director of RESULTS. “RESULTS is grateful for the leadership of Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) for introducing the End Tuberculosis Now Act of 2021 to help reach the millions of people with TB that health systems are leaving behind. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this bill and to greatly increase funding to fight TB everywhere in their end of year spending bill.”
“As someone who lives and was treated for tuberculosis in New Jersey, I am so grateful for Senator Menendez and Senator Young's leadership on Global Health and their work to create a world without TB for families like mine,” said Kate O'Brien of We Are TB / current co-chair of the Tuberculosis Roundtable. O’Brien continued. “Tuberculosis is treatable and curable. That anyone dies of TB is a tragedy and an injustice. The End TB Now act will give tuberculosis programs across the globe the prioritization and oversight they require to ensure people are given the high-quality care they need and deserve. I am so thankful for this legislation and I hope these efforts to safeguard the health of millions of people is supported by others in Congress."
"Tuberculosis has long been one of the deadliest diseases in the world, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made our fight against TB more difficult and more urgent. We must act now to avert further unnecessary deaths and get us back on the path to ending TB once and for all. The End TB Now Act will bolster our efforts through a comprehensive approach to TB that allows more people to be diagnosed, improves access to the best available treatments, prevents future infections and disease, prioritizes the communities being placed at highest risk, builds partnerships for research and development, and so much more. We thank Sen. Menendez and Sen. Young for introducing this critically important legislation, and we look forward to a TB-free future that the End TB Now Act can help secure," said Elizabeth Lovinger, Treatment Action Group, co-Chair of Tuberculosis Roundtable.
Find a copy of the full text of the legislation HERE.