Nothing to sneeze at

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It’s not enough, but Congress did provide a small surprise boost in bilateral TB funding for this fiscal year-padding the FY09 appropriations bill with an extra $7.5 million for combating global tuberculosis.

Overall, the bill includes $162.5 million for global TB, a little more than the $155 million global HIV/AIDS & TB advocates had anticipated. That’s a $7.5 million increase of 2008 funding.

Of course, it’s still a tiny sliver of the $650 million TB advocates pushed for. That amount would have put the U.S. on a path to meet the authorized funding level of $5 billion over five years.

Global HIV/AIDS funding came in at $5.5 billion. Within that, $150 million is earmarked for HIV/TB co-infection.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria got $900 million, also just a small increase over 2008 funding. It’s not nearly enough to help with the Fund’s $5 billion shortfall and probably does not bode well for the Fund’s plea for $2.75 billion from the U.S. for 2010.

But then, every global funding fight is likely to be bruising amid the current economic doom-and-gloom domestically.

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