Senator Boxer: Fighting TB and Increasing Awareness in Developing Countries   

Monday, November 19, 2007  

I wanted to let you know of my efforts regarding basic education and such diseases as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in developing countries.  These health conditions can pose massive consequences in many developing countries, and they also pose a risk here in the United States.

I have joined several Senators in writing to the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs to urge funding for basic education activities in the developing world.  Basic education is one of the best investments we can make and it is the cornerstone of development.  It also can directly lower both child and infant mortality rates and the risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS. 

Currently 77 million children in the world are not enrolled in school.  More than half of these are in nations impacted by crisis or conflict.  Many of these children have little reason for hope without the opportunities provided by a basic education.  In our letter to the Subcommittee, we request that basic education activities receive funding to give these children hope.

I have also joined in an effort to ensure that we are able to stop the global spread of tuberculosis.  This disease is increasingly drug resistant, and it kills approximately 1.6 million people worldwide each year.  Our nation has a significant interest in stopping its spread before cases begin showing up here.  In our letter, I joined other Senators in requesting that funding be provided to help stop its spread.

I am also pleased to relate that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently approved my legislation that would bring U.S. policy in line with the Global Plan to Stop TB, a ten-year strategy launched last year at the World Economic Forum to cut the number of TB deaths in half by 2015.  My bill would authorize up to $400 million for fiscal year 2008 and up to $550 million for fiscal year 2009 for foreign assistance programs that combat international TB.  This funding increase is especially important because of the recent outbreak of extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), a particularly virulent and lethal strain of tuberculosis that is resistant to many drugs used to combat TB.

By funding effective programs to stop tuberculosis and increase basic education in developing countries, we ensure a safer and healthier future for everyone.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer