Re: "Harper takes off on India tour," Nov. 4.
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper's latest trade efforts with India and China are laudable, such efforts mask a deeper problem with our relationship with global trading partners.
The Canadian International Development Agency is scheduled for massive funding cuts, and a consequence of this is a one-third reduction in tuberculosis-treatment funding. Drug-resistant TB is ballooning in Asia, at a time when the government is pursuing greater ties.
This makes no sense. Greater ties always means greater transmission of disease. Disease recognizes no political borders, and drug-resistant TB is as dangerous to public health in Canada as it is elsewhere.
The most effective way to battle drug-resistant TB is to properly treat ordinary TB. Tuberculosis becomes drug-resistant when regular treatment is not properly completed. Cutting treatment funding by a third is exactly the kind of scenario that generates drug-resistant TB.
In his trip to India, it is almost certain Harper will be exposed to TB. One third of the world's population is infected, though the proportion is much higher in India. He likely will not contract the disease, but do business leaders want to expose themselves to killers like TB when pursuing trade?
It's important that we increase economic ties with the world, but as we do so we are exposed to the world's problems.
We can't fence it out, so it's in our own interest that we continue with proven interventions like TB treatment.
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