Opinion Piece Calls For Reinstatement Of Global Fund’s TB Funding In North Korea
STAT: Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un: authoritarian love in the time of TB
Jonathan Shaffer, Ph.D. student in sociology at Boston University studying the politics of global health
“President Donald Trump, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the airborne bacterium responsible for causing tuberculosis, the deadliest infectious disease on the planet — are embroiled in a potentially awkward three-way love triangle. … [I]n North Korea, the combination of ongoing famine, densely packed cities, deeply impoverished rural regions, and a poorly functioning health system is driving an uncontrolled TB epidemic that is making worse an already dire humanitarian crisis. … In February, the Global Fund announced it was pulling its meager funding … to stanch the spread of tuberculosis in the country… The Global Fund is a multilateral global health funding agency … that has been the paragon of a human rights approach to global health financing. It is also supposed to be apolitical. … Not only does this episode sully the Global Fund’s well-regarded reputation as an impartial, apolitical, human-rights-focused global health financing agency, but it also has the terrifying potential to destabilize the geopolitics of a region that is already hanging by a thread. … Trump should direct his administration to call for the immediate reinstatement (and expansion) of the Global Fund’s efforts to care for people with tuberculosis in North Korea” (11/19).