ATS Commemorates World TB Day
The ATS presented a series of educational and advocacy activities in Washington, D.C., for World TB Day, March 24, 2012. The most exciting news of the week was the official launch of the new House Tuberculosis Elimination Caucus. The TB Caucus, co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Eliot Engel, D-NY, Gene Green, D-TX, and Don Young, R-AK, aims to raise awareness of TB in the Congress and support funding for tuberculosis control and research through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal programs.
On March 21, the ATS, World Health Organization, and Stop TB Partnership convened an educational briefing on TB in conjunction with the TB Caucus. The briefing panel of speakers included Jeffrey Starke, MD, an ATS member and noted expert on pediatric TB; Mario Raviglione, MD, director of the WHO Stop TB department; Kenneth Castro, MD, director of the CDC’s Division of TB Elimination; and patient advocate Rachel Orduno. Following the briefing, the congressional TB Caucus co-chairs hosted a meeting with the briefing speakers and other TB advocates, where they pledged to protect funding for TB programs and work to prioritize the disease in global health policy.
Later that week, the ATS and TB partners met with USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, MD, to urge him to provide greater prioritization and funding for the agency’s global tuberculosis program, which provides technical assistance to forty of the most highly burdened countries. In the meeting, ATS member Philip Hopewell, MD, discussed the success of USAID’s TB program in expanding directly observed treatment coverage to millions around the world and emphasized the way it has successfully combined health care system support in countries with technical innovation.
Building a strong TB Caucus is a priority for the ATS. Members can support this effort by urging their House Representatives to join the TB Caucus. Visit Thoracic.org/advocacy/index.php for more information.
In photo above: Standing: Rep. Don Young, R-AK, left; Mario Raviglione, MD; TB patient advocate Andre Gariseb; Jeffrey Starke, MD; Kenneth Castro, MD; Rep. Gene Green, D-TX. Sitting: Lucica Ditiu, MD, executive secretary of Stop TB Partnership, left, and Rachel Orduno.