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Proposed U.S. Budget Cuts To International, Domestic TB Programs Will Hamper Efforts To Fight Disease

“In 2011, tuberculosis [TB] killed 1.4 million people worldwide, almost as many as died from HIV/AIDS,” yet President Obama’s FY 2014 budget request proposes cuts to U.S. TB spending, Celine Gounder, a primary care doctor and specialist in infectious diseases and public health, writes in a Bloomberg View opinion piece. The proposed budget cuts “will severely hamper [USAID’s] efforts to contain the global spread of drug-resistant TB, and to expand access to better drugs,” she states. In addition, “public health spending on tuberculosis in the U.S. is also being cut,” she writes, noting proposed cuts to the CDC’s Tuberculosis Trial Consortium. “Instead of cutting funding for national and international programs — almost certainly leading to unnecessary deaths — the Obama administration should be moving in the opposite direction,” Gounder writes, concluding, “By strengthening the public health system to deliver essential TB services in the U.S. and abroad and expanding the number of TB drugs, we should be working to prevent all deaths from tuberculosis” (5/15).