The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) on Thursday, May 2 signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) in support of reproductive, maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious disease and health systems strengthening programs in Cambodia.
I arrived in Cambodia just recently but I have already been impressed with the progress in health. I want to congratulate you especially, Your Excellency Dr. Mam Bunheng, for your achievement. From the highest level of government down to community organizations, Cambodia has come together impressively to improve health, including HIV/AIDS. It is now possible to envision the next generation as AIDS free.
I am proud to be with you today to showcase the U.S. Government’s commitment to Cambodia’s HIV response. Our efforts will be successful only if we work together as a team – by bringing our unique strengths to the table. It’s such a team that I am honored to have joined in Cambodia. Since the inception of its HIV/AIDS program in 1986, USAID has been on the forefront of the global AIDS crisis, investing more than $7 billion to fight the pandemic. Today, with more than 33 million people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, USAID is a key partner in the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest and most diverse HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment initiative in the world.
Despite significant progress towards tuberculosis control in the past decade, this disease continues to be a major challenge to the health of communities around the world. In 2011- the latest year for which estimates are available - there were 8.7 million new cases of TB and 1.4 million people died as a result of their illness. In Cambodia alone, 61,000 people are estimated to suffer from TB each year. 9,000 of those will die annually.
The good news is that Cambodia has shown the world what can be achieved when countries apply a concerted and relentless effort to fight disease. This effort brought Cambodia a 45% decrease in prevalence of TB between the 2002 and 2011. That is astonishing! I would like to congratulate the Royal Government of Cambodia and all of you on this great achievement and for your contributions to global tuberculosis control.
It is a great pleasure to be here today at the opening ceremony of the 18th Annual Tuberculosis Conference. I would like to thank CENAT for inviting me. USAID is following the progress made in TB control efforts in Cambodia with great interest and we are glad to be part of this important workshop.
Last year, we were extremely impressed to learn of the impact that years of TB control efforts have had in the country - documented by repeat prevalence surveys showing 45% decrease in TB prevalence in nine years. This is a remarkable achievement and Cambodia is being applauded worldwide for this success, and we, USAID, is very proud to have contributed to this achievement.
We know also that momentum needs to be sustained for many more years, even decades, to reach the ultimate goal of eliminating TB as a public health problem by 2050. It is with that goal that we need to continue our relentless efforts in the coming years.
In Cambodia, women play a prominent role in household finances and are the owners of 65 percent of registered businesses in the country. Therefore, Feed the Future programs in Cambodia leverage the unique position that women have as income earners to help inform decisions about new agricultural technologies and dietary changes for their families.
Last updated: July 08, 2014