Take action:  Write your congressman

Ask Congress to increase funding for tuberculosis treatment 

By working with developing nations to address preventable diseases, the U.S. has saved millions of lives and lifted vulnerable people around the world out of poverty. However, there is still much work to be done. Tuberculosis kills more people than any other infectious disease, ranking above HIV/AIDS, and is now the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. It is also by far the most underfunded of U.S. infectious disease programs relative to its burden.  New TB cases correlate strongly with economic conditions, and the highest incidences are found in the poorest countries in the world.  Communities and families in these places continue to be devastated by TB, all the while cheap and effective treatments remain available. Our mission is to push Congress to increase funding for TB treatment and get medicines into the hands of those who desperately need them. 

Tuburculosis facts

 Cambodian woman taking her daily TB medication Photo courtesy of OpASHA

Cambodian woman taking her daily TB medication Photo courtesy of OpASHA

  • 1.7 million people died from TB in 2016
  • 10.4 million people contract TB  every year, 4 million of which receive no modern treatment
  • Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middleincome countries
  • Seven countries account for 64% of the total TB cases (India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa)
  • In 2016, an estimated 1 million children became ill with TB and 250,000 children died of TB
  • An estimated 53 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2016

Steps to Write an Effective Letter to Congress

 A recent report by the Congressional Management Foundation found 88% of Congressional staff stated that personalized letters had some to a lot of influence on lawmakers.  Write your Member of Congress and ask them to to increase funding for TB.  The most effective letters to decision makers are brief and pointed. Here are some tips for making your letter as strong as possible.  

  1. Introduce yourself as a constituent from your city, and thank them for something relevant if you can.
  2. Tell them what your asking them to do.  Namely, request
    1. A. An additional $150 million appropriation for the USAID account to address drug-susceptible TB
    2. That 80% of USAID TB funding go only to projects with annual targets for additional people treated as a result of U.S. assistance
    3. That USAID report annually to Congress on its progress towards these targets
  3. Say why this is something that needs doing and why it matters to you, using 2-3 facts or statistics that struck you and an example of how it affects people's lives.  If you have a personal experience with the issue, share it!
  4. Request a reply. Sign with your name and address.
  5. Be sure to send this letter via your representative's website as well as by post; letters sent by post go through additional screenings that cause delay.