Advocate for tuberculosis research

Published 6:44 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

As Bobbie Curd’s recent article about Rep. Brett Guthrie’s “opioid bill” suggests, it’s crucial to have our legislators work to keep our communities safe and healthy. In this spirit, we are writing to raise awareness about a disease that has deadly consequences with the hope that community members and our representatives support measures to fund prevention and treatment efforts.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. While, in the United States, TB is often considered a disease of the past, worldwide, TB is the leading infectious killer, responsible for even more deaths than HIV/AIDS. Because TB does not seem like an imminent threat to the vast majority of people in the United States, the disease does not garner much attention.

We often neglect TB’s worldwide prevalence and the duty we have in helping to end it. Globally, over one and a half million people die of TB annually despite the fact that tuberculosis is preventable and often very curable. It is essential that the U.S. government’s fiscal year 2019 budgets reflect the value of human life. Currently, two versions of the federal budget entail different amounts of funding set aside for TB.

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The House has proposed a $302 million dollar budget, while the Senate has proposed $275 million. This difference of $27 million has the potential to prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths. In the words of Dr. Paul Farmer, one of the foremost experts on the human cost of infectious disease: “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” We must fight the idea that some lives matter less. Please call your representatives to advocate for the House’s proposed TB research budget:

Senator Rand Paul: (859) 219-2239

Senator Mitch McConnell: (859) 224-8286

Congressman Brett Guthrie: (270) 842-9896

Rebecca Markham

Co-President on behalf of Centre College Partners in Health Engage