White House slashes TB funding less than two months after launching National Plan to Combat MDR-TB

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SFOPSThe State Department’s funding document released following the White House budget today shows the Administration proposed the same amount for tuberculosis programs this year as it did last year — even after releasing an ambitious plan to reach more people worldwide with treatment for drug resistant TB.

The State Department’s budget justification proposes a $45 million cut to total $191 million for the TB program — a 19 percent cut over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. The White House’s repeated attempts to cut funding for the TB program has been met with rejection from Congress over the past several years.

The National Action Plan to Combat MDR-TB includes aims to “initiate appropriate treatment in 25 percent of patients with MDR-TB in 10 countries with the highest burdens of MDR-TB” by 2016 (with the plan released a week and a half before the new year, leaving what part of 2016 unclear), increasing that treatment target to 35 percent of patients with MDR-TB by 2018. Among the plan’s aims by the end of 2020 are to initiate appropriate treatment in 50 percent of patients with MDR-TB in 10 countries with the highest burdens of MDR-TB, reduce global TB incidence by 25 percent compared to 2015 levels, successfully treat at least 16 million TB patients in high-burden countries, achieve and maintain treatment success rates of 90 percent for individuals in high-burden countries with drug-susceptible TB.

Because the White House budget proposal this morning makes no mention of the disease at all, it remains unclear how these goals are to be attained with what would, if the Congress accepts the proposal, be less money than last year.

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